Sunday, January 08, 2012

Passing thought #3: Is that all there is?

So many people, it seems, were almost beside themselves with joy over PHC* actually going to the Pentagon for a presser to announce a new military strategy that would include cuts in military spending! Hooray! Second Nobel Peace Prize coming!

Um, I wondered, were these cuts more than the $400 billion over 10 years already announced months ago?

Turns out, no, not really. It's $487 billion over 10 years. And it's still not clear, at least to me, if these are cuts in DOD spending or in all "defense" spending.

With the 2012 DOD budget request set at $553 billion and allowing for the fact that the budget is expected to grow in current dollars despite the cuts - that is, the "cuts" are actually "smaller increases" - it winds up giving the gun-wielders about 8% less over the next decade. And if the cuts are to apply to all "defense" spending - $881 billion requested for 2012, it becomes just a five or six percent smaller increase.

Not insignificant, granted, but hardly let-out-a-cheer stuff, especially when there are proposals already out there to cut such spending by 25% (The 25 Percent Solution), by $1.2 trillion (The Cato Institute), and by $2.3 Trillion (The House Progressive Caucus), all over 10 years, and another to cut 40% over just three years (Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor). And especially not when "defense" spending has gone up by a whopping 70% over the last decade.

Footnote: The NY Times is already starting with the articles about the supposedly devastating impact these smaller increases will have on companies and their employees who depend on military contracts. That there will some sort of impact is undeniable; I just wish such things were a matter of concern to our source of "all the news that's fit to print" when it involved cuts in spending that are about actual human needs.

*PHC = President Hopey-Changey

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