Las Vegas Sun

April 26, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Address Pentagon’s spending problem

Even with job openings on the rise, the slow rate of U.S. hiring won’t be able to absorb the nearly 30 percent of young male veterans who still don’t have jobs. That alarming percentage could grow wildly if the Pentagon lays off an additional 100,000 troops this year, according to news reports. Meanwhile, leaders in Washington want to raise veterans’ health care premiums by 300 percent to save money and cut the deficit.

This is no way to honor the sacrifices our troops have made in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it won’t solve the real problem of Pentagon spending: inefficient bureaucracy that is wasting tens of billions of dollars each year because of unrealistic requirements and long delays. For instance, the Joint Strike Fighter was originally billed as an affordable fighter jet. Now it’s nearly a decade late and 75 percent over budget, costing an estimated $1 trillion and growing.

Reasonable reforms proposed by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates would deliver equipment faster and save billions — enough to keep veterans’ health care affordable and help new veterans find jobs. By fixing spending problems, Congress and the Pentagon can honor the promises we’ve made to our troops.

The author is the president of the National Association of American Veterans.

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  1. Good letter. Every military advisor to President Obama, from the Commanders in the field to Sec of Def Panetta, has warned him about the defense cuts over the next 10 years and the automatic sequestrations that take effect on Jan 2, 2013. Sadly, the President and Dems are holding the GOP and Americans hostage on the issue. Why? It's an election year and politics trumps policy. The President shows once again he does not understand the economics of the situation.


  2. Mr. Chapline:

    I recall the Base Closures and the downsizing of the military during the Reagan years:

    "The Base Closure Process in Perspective

    The Reagan Administration began the base closure process in 1988. Subsequent recommendations for reductions were adopted in 1991 and 1993."

    Parts of the iniatives including consolidating the military systems, like payroll, to be more efficient. All the military branches and separate independent defense agencies had their own out of date legacy systems that were pieced together with years of patches. One of the efforts started under Reagan was to put all the Defense payroll systems under a few like the Air Force. It happened on my watch. Over a period of about 4 years from 88-92 we upgraded technology and systems for about two or three dozen Defense Agencies and Air Force Bases to the AF system at Lowry AFB. While some [civilians] were reassigned to other locations throughout the USA, retired [early outs were approved], or lost their jobs if they refused to move, many were promoted to higher grades and positions as their responsibilities increased.

    Recall too Congressional Reps/Senators MUST, I repeat, MUST approve any downsizing or loss of military and civilian jobs in their districts before they happen. And always ask for and receive re-employment training, educational training, and Gov't subsidizing employees' costs to move and buy/sell houses.


  3. One of the programs that comes to mind is soldiers to schools. Troops who retired, or were drummed out, took college courses to become teachers at schools of their choice: Grammar, HS etc. And the Military gave the school districts the money to pay their salaries for one, two, three or more years. Great for the military. Not so much for the new teaching grads who couldn't compete with the sweet deals that the Military made for the school districts to hire former soldiers as teachers.


  4. Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Would You Believe It's Barack Obama?

    It's enough to make even the most ardent Obama cynic scratch his head in confusion.

    Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Who knew?

    So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole "Obama as big spender" narrative?

    It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% --going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I'll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives"but you would be wrong.

    The first year of any incoming president term is saddled--for better or for worse--with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush--and passed by the 2008 Congress--it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

  5. Vernos, you have sent people scurrying to research that one. LOL

    Thanks for the link.

    I love it when meme gets thrown off track.

  6. Mr. Branco:

    I don't agree. Incoming Presidents are not "saddled" with the budget of the former admin unless they so choose. With both Houses in Dem control, the President could easily have nixed any/all of the budget he inherited and prevailed easily. Obama was the man in charge not Bush2. It is the privilege of the incoming president to accept/reject all or part of the previously approved and signed budget. That simple.


  7. "Thanks again Carmine, you put much in perspective for me."

    You're welcome Mr. Chapline.


  8. Here's the skinny

    "Both the incumbent and the newly elected President can act unilaterally, through
    executive orders, recess appointments, and appointments to positions that do not
    require Senate confirmation. Additionally, a President can appoint individuals to
    positions that require Senate confirmation, and a presidential administration can
    influence the pace and substance of agency rulemaking. The disposition of
    government records (including presidential records and vice presidential records), the
    practice of "burrowing in" (which involves the conversion of political appointees to
    career status in the civil service), and the granting of pardons are three activities
    associated largely with the outgoing President's Administration."

    "The incumbent President may also submit a budget to Congress, or he may defer to his successor on
    this matter."

    Note that last statement Mr. Branco.


  9. And more:

    "Incoming Presidents, except for Harding, Clinton, and George W. Bush,
    assumed their position with a budget of their predecessor in place. Under the 1921
    act, Presidents may submit budget revisions to Congress at any time. Six incoming
    Presidents chose to modify their predecessor's policies by submitting budget
    revisions shortly after taking office: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan."


  10. CarmineD - "I don't agree. Incoming Presidents are not "saddled" with the budget of the former admin unless they so choose."

    You can disagree all you want, but the Bush tax cuts were passed under reconciliation and lasted ten years. Note, the keyword in the following being "budget". We have many bills and laws which fall into that category including military expenditures.

    "A reconciliation bill is a bill containing changes in law recommended pursuant to reconciliation instructions in a budget resolution."

    "The reconciliation process arose from the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Over time, it has developed into a procedure for implementing the policy decisions and assumptions embraced in a budget resolution in a way that was unforeseen when the Budget Act was written. Under the original design of the Budget Act, reconciliation had a fairly narrow purpose: it was expected to be used together with the second budget resolution adopted in the fall, was to apply to a single fiscal year, and be directed primarily at spending and revenue legislation acted on between the adoption of the first and second budget resolutions."

    "The Byrd Rule (as described below) was adopted in 1985 and amended in 1990. Its main effect has been to prohibit the use of reconciliation for provisions that would increase the deficit beyond 10 years after the reconciliation measure." "During the administration of President George W. Bush, Congress used reconciliation to enact three major tax cuts. These tax cuts were set to lapse after 10 years to satisfy the Byrd Rule."

  11. Close a few bases each year, in England, Germany, Guam, Japan.... Offer displaced soldiers up to 3 years of subsistence work on our southern border expelling illegal invaders. The soldiers can quit any time they find other work or whatever but while there, they get room, board, stipend. AND our economy will start to rebound as we get some of the invading leeches out of here. Cut the costs of K-12, law enforcement, courts, social welfare, medical indigent costs.....

  12. Oh my heavens, Roslenda!

    Let me pick up your ideas and carry them a bit further, to help you through your political correctness.

    We can build "favelas", cremation centers and more prisons for the criminals, and indentured poor, including those left jobless from your suggestions.

    Oh yes, instead of burying garbage, let it stay in the open so the impoverished and rejected K-12 kids can scrounge for food.

    Privatize those soldiers on the border. They could live in small shacks, say 8'x8', with outhouses and water tanks. Make sure they have a couple of chickens and seeds to help with the food expenses.

    Put a bounty on the head of each of those "invading leeches", to give soldiers money to purchase ammunition and the rest of their food and supplies at the corporate store.

    Hey, maybe some venture capitalist would fund excursion buses for guided tours of the "favelas" and subsistence shacks of the private border military.

    We could close down Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and build Euthanasia Centers. That will save lots of money.

    Replace them with a profit making entity that will take an equal amount from our paychecks as a donation toward building businesses in America, or to support the loss of revenue for the healthcare industry.

    Put K-12 kids, and seniors to work in the fields of corporate farms, if they refuse euthanasia.

    Limit K-12 to the "acceptable" people.

    Why not just eliminate law enforcement and courts altogether, and everyone carry guns for instant justice/injustice.

    Personally, I think your suggestions are ???? However, it is good you have the guts to state your position, and be willing to be criticized for them.

  13. Carmine,

    You just gave an excellent reason why Presidential candidates should start way ahead of conventions arranging their prospective Cabinet posts, and announcing them at the Party's Convention.

    They would be able to have their agendas and policies in place before election time.

    The voter's should know who will be advising the President, and what the plans are for the country before the election.

  14. When I was reviewing the DOD budget allocations some months ago, I noticed that some amounts covered a number of years for military interventions. I can't remember exactly now, but it seemed like 8 years.

    I can imagine that they project potenial budget needs in a way that if something happens that needs defense of our country, we are not left underfunded at a critical time.

    I could be wrong, but it seemed common sense to me.

    There were plenty of other things I had objections to that dealt with Constitutional issues having to do with US citizen freedoms, or lack of them.

  15. Mr. Branco:

    If your point is the reconciliation process and CBA of 1974 force the incoming president to accept the outgoing president's annual budget, I disagree with you. And so did Presidents Reagan and Clinton who came after the CBA was enacted into law. As I recall, and I may be wrong, the single most important feature of the CBA of 74 was to change the begin and end dates of the federal fiscal year. Period. End of story.


  16. Note the words used to describe the CBA:

    "The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 sets the stage for how the federal government develops a budget. The act provides a set of guidelines related to how the budget process works and the various roles the president and Congress play in developing and ensuring the passage of a workable budget. "

    Note the use of the word "guidelines." Very important. Guidelines are not the gospel. There is no way, no how, no time, that an incoming president is refrained/restrained by the acts of an outgoing president. We don't elect Kings and dynasties, we elect presidents. And for the most part, they change every 4/8 years.


  17. "The 1974 statute also established the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to give lawmakers technical support. CBO estimates the cost of pending legislation, performs scorekeeping functions, and makes projections (forecasts) about the economy. The statute changed the fiscal year (accounting period) to begin October 1 rather than July 1."

    Note the last sentence.


  18. stephen: Where do you read "caused" the economy to tank? Many things compounded to get us into this mess. Again, we must take steps in many directions to right things. Illegal invaders is an ongoing drain of at least $300 BILLION a year--Several trillion for the decade forecasts the administration uses when talking budget deficit reductions and other backtalk.

  19. addresses the claims of the costs related to undocumented immigrants, in chain mails and elsewhere.