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Spending Cuts Loom for Pentagon: Automatic Sequestration

Written by Gary North on February 21, 2013

The 2011 budget bill established automatic spending cuts. These will begin on March 1 unless Congress and the President agree on a way to kick the can and run up the on-budget deficit.

The whole thing is a charade. The cuts are always cuts in the expected increase in spending, not actual reductions in today’s spending.

The cuts are always listed in their 10-year total. This makes them sound really big. What is never mentioned is the total federal spending over this 10-year period, which is in the range of $47 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The major cuts are always out there at the tail end of the decade. Congress knows that these cuts will not take place. A future Congress will cut the cuts, which are in fact not cuts.

Meanwhile, the present value of the future total unfunded liability of the government is $222 trillion. It rises at about $11 trillion a year. These are real obligations.

The Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, is doing what he is paid to do: defend the present budget. He wants no cuts. He has sent a letter to Congress to this effect. He has warned of a “hollow force” military.

Time magazine ran a chart in 2012 of this hollowing out.


Panetta warned: “As our military leaders have made clear, changes like this — not well thought through, not phased-in properly — changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in unstable parts of the world.” Excuse me? The Pentagon has known ever since the summer of 2011 that these so-called cuts were coming. If the military leaders failed to think thing this through and phase them in properly, whose fault is that?

It is the fault of a bunch of guys with four stars on their uniforms.

The White House is not going to send an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. Will the crew be laid off? No. Will the carrier be mothballed? No. Then how will the White House’s decision save money? It won’t. It’s a PR stunt. So far, Congress isn’t buying it.

Panetta has issued a warning letter to civilians employed by the Department of Defense. There may be layoffs, beginning on March 1. He bewails cuts of $500 billion. Fact: the reductions in spending increases will be at most $46 billion in this fiscal year. It’s the same old smoke screen: $500 billion over a 10-year period.

The Tea Party says it wants spending cuts. Let’s see how badly it wants them. Let’s see if the in-house Tea Party Republicans and the in-House Republicans call for cuts in the cuts.

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10 thoughts on “Spending Cuts Loom for Pentagon: Automatic Sequestration

  1. jmsmaxwell says:

    This BS was demanded by BHO in 2011, he threatend to veto any bill that did not have the sequester built into it. He helped
    write it and signed it into the bill. What is comical about it is that it at best is only 1.2% of the amount that the demoncrats
    have plannedlt to spend. And if I remember the verbage int he bill he gets to pick and choose where the cuts are made.
    It will be up to him as to which spending he cuts, knowing his distane for the military I would bet that he cuts them while
    boosting his welfare programs for his voter base.

  2. Here we go again… I hope the Republicans hold on this and let it go through… Obama wanted it, let him eat it and be held responsible for once.. It’s not a big scary deal like obama and his brat team want Americans to think. His last theatrical stunt was so over the top.. I guess some fallowing, ignorant obummer lovers will believe and bow to his every wim, again.. Not me… Just saying.

  3. Seymour Kleerly says:

    Whatever it takes to reign in our Defense (really offense) spending is fine with me.

  4. Texas Chris says:

    Me too!

  5. Texas Chris says:

    "The Tea Party says it wants spending cuts. Let’s see how badly it wants them. Let’s see if the in-house Tea Party Republicans and the in-House Republicans call for cuts in the cuts."

    This is the key.

  6. Why does the Pentagon need 800,000 civilian employees anyway? Surely some of those jobs could be done by military personnel at far less expense! I recall eating in an Airforce chow hall in the early 70's that employed civilian cooks – I always wondered why because the Navy chow hall across the base used Navy cooks. The food was excellent in both.

  7. Bob Marshall says:

    I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said bad government comes from too much government.

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