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Obama Wants Fiscal Discipline – For GIs

From a cheering Washington Post:

Pentagon asking Congress to hold back on generous increases in troop pay

By Craig Whitlock
Saturday, May 7, 2010; A01

The Pentagon, not usually known for its frugality, is pleading with Congress to stop spending so much money on the troops.

And when they say the Pentagon, they mean Mr. Obama.

Through nine years of war, service members have seen a healthy rise in pay and benefits, with most of them now better compensated than workers in the private sector with similar experience and education levels.

Congress has been so determined to take care of troops and their families that for several years running it has overruled the Pentagon and mandated more-generous pay raises than requested by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. It has also rejected attempts by the Pentagon to slow soaring health-care costs — which Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said are "eating us alive" — by raising co-pays or premiums.

Now, Pentagon officials see fiscal calamity.

In the midst of two long-running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials are increasingly worried that the government’s generosity is unsustainable and that it will leave them with less money to buy weapons and take care of equipment.

With Washington confronting record deficits, the Pentagon is bracing for an end to the huge increases in defense spending of the past decade. On Saturday, Gates is scheduled to give a "hard-hitting" speech in Kansas on fiscal discipline, in which he will warn military leaders that "we’ll have to take some dramatic measures ourselves to sustain the force we have," his press secretary, Geoff Morrell, told reporters.

Isn’t it hilarious to see how the Washington Post is trying to spin this? Never mind that the ultimate problem here is that the Pentagon’s budget has been slashed by Mr. Obama and the Democrats.

Clifford L. Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel, told a Senate committee in March that rising personnel costs could "dramatically affect the readiness of the department" by leaving less money to pay for operations and maintenance. Overall, personnel expenses constitute about one-quarter of defense spending.

Health care alone is projected to cost the military $51 billion next year, nearly one-tenth of the Pentagon’s budget, excluding the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How could government run healthcare go up?

Since 2002, wages have risen 42 percent, compared with about 32 percent for the private sector. Housing and subsistence allowances, which troops receive tax-free, have gone up even more…

How does this compare with the public sector?

Other well-meaning programs to support service members and their families have turned into budgetary Frankensteins.

In February, the Pentagon abruptly shut down a new tuition-assistance program for military spouses after it was overwhelmed with applicants. Defense officials had set aside $61 million for the program, which reimburses tuition costs of up to $6,000 per person, but discovered they might need as much as $2 billion to satisfy unexpected demand…

But we thought Mr. Obama wanted to increase spending for college tuition?

Oh, never mind. We’re just amazed to find there is something in the federal government that Mr. Obama wants to cut. But of course it is the one thing in our government that actually works.

And one of the few spending items actually required by the Constitution.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, May 8th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Obama Wants Fiscal Discipline – For GIs”

  1. TwilightZoned says:

    “Through nine years of war, service members have seen a healthy rise in pay and benefits, with most of them now better compensated than workers in the private sector with similar experience and education levels.”

    Uh, exactly how many of the private sector, with similar experience and education levels, are putting their life on the line daily? Yea, that’s what I thought…not many.

  2. 11ten1775 says:

    From Obama’s speech at Camp Lejeune, February 2009:
    “I want you to know this: military families are a top priority for Michelle and me, and they will be a top priority for my administration. We’ll raise military pay, and continue providing quality child-care, job-training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have known the separation and stress of war…”

    Gee, who could have known he said that for cheap applause in an audience that wasn’t full of his usual admirers?
    He proposes billions more than Bush did for family readiness (ie. spouse job training, counseling, and child-care), but, darn it, he just won’t be able to “take care of us” because the mean old tightwads at the Pentagon won’t let him. Lucky for Obama, there’s always a committee or group of advisors to make the tough decisions (blame).
    Who knew that promising to pay for the education of millions of spouses would turn into a “budgetary Frankenstein?” And how exactly does free tuition for spouses increase military readiness? So more children can be placed in child-care facilities, and more families can be under the stress of two parents employed full-time and/or in school, thereby needing counseling services…
    (Not against spouses being educated or working – just the govt. being involved in it.)
    But, when Gates adresses military spending issues, it’s not about cutting these silly social programs, but rather reducing our fleet and not building too many fighter jets. Up is down, and down is up.

    • AcornsRNutz says:

      I have been fearing this, and telling my fellow Marines to be wary of this type of thing. I was called a nut, chided for being to political at work, and even warned that my politics may be racist! When I pointed out that hospitals in Arizona were looking at no longer dealing with tricare due to payments not being made and being to small, it was the first time the (deplorable) Marine Times was wrong, or so I was told. That same bogus rag (only slightly better than any other liberal rag if you ask me) was the one that told us of obama’s skimpy raise proposal for CY 10, the joke of a BAH raise, and slashing funding to all branches, including the F-22, the F-35, the new SAR helo the air force was working on, the new destroyer program the navy was working on, the future weapons program in the Army (which may or may not have been a bad thing) and many other things. I have been nervous for a while, and it TICKS me off to see these clowns passing the buck to the pentagon so soon. I’ll stay in, but its a damned if I do damned if I don’t scenario in many respects.

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