In Washington, it’s often hard to tell a budget cut from a budget increase. Max Boot takes a look at proposed Pentagon spending and finds… confusion:
The nub of the controversy comes down to how you define a budget “cut”? CQ notes that the proposed Obama budget “would be about $14 billion more than the $513 billion allocated for fiscal 2009 (PL 110-329), including military construction funds, and it would match what the Bush administration estimated last year for the Pentagon in fiscal 2010.”
But while being an increase in absolute terms, this still represents a substantial cut from the $584 billion in spending that the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe is necessary. CQ tries to spin the story in a pro-Obama direction by suggesting that the higher figure is a “wish list” from the “Defense Department’s entrenched bureaucracy” that was not signed off by the Bush OMB and is “designed to pressure the Obama administration to drastically increase Defense spending or be forced to defend a reluctance to do so.”
If you give the Pentagon everything it asks for, we’d end up with solid gold tanks and hover submarines. And our procurement process is a mess — almost certainly an unfixable mess. That said, it seems hard to justify cuts while we’re at war, and when groups like ACORN are being promised billions in “stimulus” cash.