A 10% cut at the Pentagon?

posted at 9:42 am on January 31, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

While the Obama administration tries pushing through its trillion-dollar porkfest of Mall resodding and Medicare expansion, the Pentagon has gotten a much different mission from the White House.  President Obama has demanded a 10% reduction in the defense budget for FY2010, even while we fight a war in Afghanistan and conduct counterterrorist operations around the world:

The Obama administration has asked the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon’s budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent — about $55 billion — a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.

Last year’s defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend “burning the midnight oil” looking at ways to cut the budget — looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.

Ah … those would be weapons systems that actually employ people, create jobs, and help defend the nation.  That may not be as sexy, figuratively and literally, as buying billions of condoms, but it means that a significant number of good paying (and likely union) jobs will disappear.

I’m not going to argue that the defense budget doesn’t have fat.  I’ve seen defense contracting from the inside, and it stinks.  However, unlike the Obama stimulus bill that will cost more than twice as much as the 2010 defense budget, it’s not 90% fat.  Director Blue reminds us of a few numbers:

• $83 billion in welfare payments
• $81 billion for Medicaid
• $66 billion on “education”, more than the entire Department of Education required just ten years ago
• $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
• $20 billion for food stamps
• $8 billion on “renewable energy” projects, which have a low or negative return
• $7 billion for “modernizing federal buildings and facilities”
• $6 billion on urban transit systems, dominated by unions and which, almost universally, lose money
• $2.4 billion for “carbon-capture demonstration projects”
• $2 billion for child-care subsidies
• $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that’s run in the red for 40 years
• $650 million for “digital TV conversion coupons” (on top of billions already spent)
• $600 million on new cars for government (added to the $3 billion already spent each year)
• $400 million for “global-warming research”
• $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts

Obama’s busy expanding all of the rest of the government except for its primary, Constitutional mission: defending the nation.


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