The Washington Post has a bombshell report Tuesday morning which reveals an internal study conducted by the Pentagon which pointed out $125 billion in administrative waste in how the enormous, military bureaucracy operates. According to the long and detailed report, Defense Department officials buried the findings so as not to jeopardize their political arguments for more funding during the years of “sequester” cuts:
But some Pentagon leaders said they fretted that by spotlighting so much waste, the study would undermine their repeated public assertions that years of budget austerity had left the armed forces starved of funds. Instead of providing more money, they said, they worried Congress and the White House might decide to cut deeper.
So the plan was killed. The Pentagon imposed secrecy restrictions on the data making up the study, which ensured no one could replicate the findings. A 77-page summary report that had been made public was removed from a Pentagon website.
Of course, President Obama has spent the past several years publicly decrying the sequester cuts for political advantage. Here’s the president in 2015 claiming Republicans were making America vulnerable to terrorist attacks because of the cuts:
President Obama on Tuesday said congressional Republicans must end the “reckless cuts” under sequestration that are hurting the U.S. military.
“That’s not the way to keep our armed forces ready,” he said in a speech at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Pittsburgh. “These mindless cuts have to end.”
The president said lawmakers have two paths forward on the budget.The first would be keeping the spending ceilings under sequester in place and using “gimmicks” to fund the military and “shortchange” counterterrorism efforts.
“I got to be honest, that’s what the Republican budget does,” Obama told the audience.
Meanwhile, according to WaPo, Obama’s own appointees at the Pentagon were well aware that there were plenty of ways to cut spending at the Pentagon by merely cleaning up the waste found in the vast, un-checked bureaucracy at the Pentagon:
“They’re all complaining that they don’t have any money. We proposed a way to save a ton of money,” said Robert “Bobby” L. Stein, a private-equity investor from Jacksonville, Fla., who served as chairman of the Defense Business Board.
Stein, a campaign bundler for President Obama, said the study’s data were “indisputable” and that it was “a travesty” for the Pentagon to suppress the results.
“We’re going to be in peril because we’re spending dollars like it doesn’t matter,” he added.
It’s stories like these that resonate with disaffected voters who have been disgusted with the endless demand for more tax dollars and unfulfilled promises to cut “waste, fraud and abuse.” In short, it’s stories like this that got Donald Trump elected. Will he, as a business man, be able to reverse these long-entranched practices by running these agencies like a private company rather than a government agency that can spend billions of dollars with no scrutiny?