Posted by MataHarley on 7 January, 2011 at 5:40 pm. 57 comments already!


The “new”, supposedly triangulating and fiscally prudent Obama has appeared… or has he? With a nation so fed up with the federal spending, increased size of government, and an economy that isn’t as rosy on Main Street as it is in the Obama pressers, the POTUS takes the “cut spending” midterms message to heart, and goes for the military’s jugular. But Obama’s first proposed cuts to make the news are a mixed bag. Included in the WH demands to Defense Sec’y Gates is cutting up to 47,000 troops from the Army and Marine Corps forces, and raising the Tricare military family health insurance premiums.

To make ends meet, Mr. Gates also announced that he would seek to recoup billions of dollars by increasing fees paid by retired veterans under 65 for Defense Department health insurance, even though Congress has rejected such proposals in the past. And he outlined extensive cuts in new weapons.

The Pentagon’s proposed operating budget for 2012 is expected to be about $553 billion, which would still reflect real growth, even though it is $13 billion less than expected. The Pentagon budget will then begin a decline in its rate of growth for two years, and stay flat — growing only to match inflation — for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. (The Pentagon operating budget is separate from a fund that finances the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.)

“This plan represents, in my view, the minimum level of defense spending that is necessary, given the complex and unpredictable array of security challenges the United States faces around the globe: global terrorist networks, rising military powers, nuclear-armed rogue states and much, much more,” Mr. Gates said.

To be sure, the actual size and shape of future military budgets will continue to be reset by annual spending proposals from the president, and those in turn will be based on shifting economic factors — decline or growth — and threats around the world, as well as by Congressional action.

But for now, the Army is expected in 2015 to begin cutting its active-duty troop levels by 27,000, and the Marine Corps by up to 20,000. Together, those force reductions would save $6 billion in 2015 and 2016.


But some — especially increases in fees for the military’s health-care system, called Tricare — require Congressional approval, and have been rejected before.

Proposals to increase Tricare fees will pit Mr. Gates against those in Congress — and veterans’ groups — who say retired military personnel already have paid up front with service in uniform. Ten years ago, health care cost the Pentagon $19 billion; today, it tops $50 billion; five years from now it is projected to cost $65 billion.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony in this? Troops that are to be cut from the military will instead be Joe Citizen, pounding Main Street for jobs in an economy that has seen unemployment figures of over 9% for 20 months, and promises little hope for reprieve over the next 4-5 years, per Fed Reserve guru, Ben Bernanke. I would guess that Mr. Bernanke sauntered over to Calculated Risk Blog, and had a gander at the incoming housing bombs looming on the horizon… as noted in the various graphics showing the increased default mortgage payments of unemployed or struggling homeowners, comprising 2011’s onslaught of foreclosures.

The irony is further compounded by the POTUS who claims to make health insurance more affordable, while sanctioning raising the premiums for military families out of the other side of his forked tongue.

But the bad joke known as the Obama economy doesn’t stop there. Admittedly, while the Pentagon, like virtually all federal agencies, could use a thorough accounting house cleaning for waste, Obama has spent his time in office adding new agency after new agency for both health care, and his financial “reform”. Yet when it comes times to looking at cutting, does he consider his damage and increased spending in the health world? But of course not…. instead, he turns his attention to the defense budget, which is less than a quarter of all US expenditures.

See the breakdown detailed figures at USGovernmentSpending’s site.

Taking the military back to pre 911 Clinton days in this era is simply not a wise idea. Constitutionally, the POTUS as commander in chief is sworn, duty bound, to protect this nation. Our strong military has not only served as our protection, but is depended upon by an international community of nations who have substandard militaries and defense budgets to make up the difference. While we are not to be the police of the world, without our military strength the international conflicts over the past century would have pulled our nation into the dangerous net inevitably.

Do we need spending cuts? Absolutely. Should we also be embarking on austerity measures, like Euro nations? You betcha. But what and how we cut may make the difference to our very survival of the nation, as it was founded. It’s been a difficult enough learning curve, waiting for Obama to catch on that Keynesian policies is a dead end road. But now it’s painfully obvious that this Commander in Chief prefers his Community Organizer tasks over commanding a strong, superior military. And there is little room left under that proverbial bus for the soldiers who will not be soldiers in the wake of this, or the hardship imposed on our military families, who have sacrificed the most for our nation, with the increased costs of medical care.

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