The central point of Jim’s article last night bears revisiting, with additional detail, because it exposes the biggest swindle of the Obama Administration so far. The Establishment Left has managed to trick its grassroots supporters with a game of cheap misdirection when it comes to the 2010 military budget.
First, understand this: The Pentagon has proposed a budget increase for itself, not a budget decrease. This year’s Pentagon spending is at 513 billion dollars. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has proposed increasing that budget to 534 billion dollars for 2010.
However, comparing these two numbers is like comparing apples to apple blossoms. The 513 billion dollar budget for 2009, after all, is a final budget, passed by Congress after being stuffed full with military pork barrel spending in addition to what was requested. The proposed 2010 budget of 534 billion dollars hasn’t had those increases yet, but Secretary Gates knows those increases will be proposed and passed. Secretary Gates knows that when he proposes a 534 billion dollar budget, the budget Congress will pass will be even larger.
It’s a game that’s being played, and the debate over the supposed “cuts” is a tremendous feint. The American people seem to be falling for it. Here’s how the show works:
First, Robert Gates makes a big show about a few cuts in the huge budget he proposes, emphasizing those cuts instead of the many increases in spending he also proposes.
Second, corporate journalists happily accept the narrative that Secretary Gates has created for them. They “report” that the proposed budget “slashes” military spending.
Third, the Republicans in Congress express outrage that the military budget is being reduced so dramatically, placing soldiers in danger.
Fourth, establishment Democratic organizations and media react to the Republicans by rallying to the defense of the proposed military budget.
The effect: Liberal Democrats are now rallying in support of an expanded military budget of just the sort that they protested against when it took place under George W. Bush. Yes we can dole out more government money to military contractors!
[Insert here the sound of me smacking my forehead]
The proposed 2010 military budget is remarkable for the way that it preserves, and even expands, wasteful military spending. Here are a couple examples:
- The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle doesn’t work the way that it’s supposed to. For instance, it’s vulnerable to roadside bombs, just the sort of thing that has resulted in the deaths of huge numbers of American soldiers in Iraq. Also, the EFV has run into huge cost overruns. Not long ago, the Pentagon went to General Dynamics, the corporation that builds the EFV, and said, Hey, we’re supposed to spend 30 billion dollars for 1,000 of these vehicles. Could we rework the cost structure on that? General Dynamics came back with an alternative plan, with which the Pentagon would still spend 30 billion dollars, but get 600 vehicles instead. The Pentagon said OK. This expeditionary spending vehicle is preserved in the proposed budget.
- The Littoral Combat Ship, produced by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin is another project filled with malfunctions. The first ship cost double the promised price. The second ship produced is costing triple the promised price. Even as the Littoral Combat Ship grew more troubled, and its development time extended from 41 months to 85 months, its research budget ballooned from 856 million dollars to 2.1 billion dollars. Even as the first two ships are being deployed, not all of the ship’s “critical technologies” are described as “fully mature”. The Navy has also described the mere act of putting the Littoral Combat Ship into the water as a “major risk” to its design. How would you like to be sent out to sea on that ship in wartime? Secretary Gates responded to these problems by increasing the number of Littoral Combat Ships, with increased payments starting in the 2010 budget.
Don’t be a tool of the military contractors’ manipulative game. Don’t follow the Democrats’ talking points, defending an expanded Pentagon budget that’s full of waste and abuse. This budget needs real cuts, not more pork barrel projects that put Americans at risk.