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18 April 2011

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William R. Cumming

Great comments Pat but will focus on one of your sentences that follows:
"This was in the era when the War College was still a serious professional institution rather than a substitute for civilian graduate schools."
Artificial credentialling? What is the costs of all these grad schools and why do they all seek civilian accreditation? Perhaps a later post on this?

jonst


To me, this 'rational', figure out the means to the ends, way has not worked. And never will.

Here is what I would try, and it can be shot thru, with a million holes. But this is the way to do it.

Just tell the people at the Pentagon you have x amount of dollars less than you had the year before and there is no arguing about it.

I would say to them, in theory, you know this stuff better than an outsider. Do the best you can with the money you got....and come back and tell us what can't be done anymore given the cuts. And guess what? We will live with it. Come what may. And tell them the same thing next year.

Ok, that will never happen. But neither will the so called draw down. The draw down will come in Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, govt research, environmental enforcement, regulatory capacity, and so forth. The defense budget will keep going up.

I say to them....'it's your world boss..'

William R. Cumming

Okay how about merger of the five Air Forces?

Merger of the two Armies?

Merge some of the 16 members of the IC?

Have a single National Security Budget including USACOE, DOE weapons complex, VA etc.?

How about closing some of the over 3000 facilities outside the USA?

Eliminate the Service Acaemies as undergrad institutions? Why do the Service Academy get undergrad service as creditable service for retirement or is that just so they are subject to UCMJ and can be controlled?

How much has been sent on don't ask don't tell?

Gates is eliminating 100 flag rank jobs how about some more?

Etc.etc.!

Cal

Does it matter in the long run? Everyone is obsessed with their share of the budget and will be until the last borrowed dollar is spent and the US can't get a loan. Of course a lot of people don't believe there will be an end...nope, couldn't happen to the US.


"Standard & Poor's on Monday maintained its 'AAA' credit rating on the Unites States, but lowered its long-term outlook to negative from stable, citing in part the country’s high debt load."

Patrick Lang

WRC

Service academy cadets or midshipmen are members of the regular armed forces with a rank between sergeant major and WO. Nevertheless, i believe you are mistaken. Their pre-commission time is not counted for retirement or longevity. pl

The Twisted Genius

Service academy time is counted towards retirement in the Reserve retirement system.

William R. Cumming

PL! Well we do know that time as a KEYDET does not count towards anything but character development and competence.

walrus

The first thing that jumped out of the page at me was the characterisation of Defence spending reductions as "Security Cuts." Does that tell you where Ms. Scully is coming from? Semantics are important.

Mr. Carafanos egregious comments remind me of the child who was convicted of murdering both his parents throwing himself on the mercy of the court - because he was an orphan.

I'm afraid I share Col. Langs doleful assessment although I think Prof. Brenners response was more colourful.

I am afraid that nature is going to have to take its course. America is heading for another financial meltdown in the next Six months, at which time the irresistible force of the decline of the dollar is going to collide with the immoveable Pentagon.

After that, what?

Marcus

Jonst: "The draw down will come in Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, govt research, environmental enforcement, regulatory capacity, and so forth. The defense budget will keep going up."
When the choice for the majority of Americans is personal destitution, caused by for example, rampant inflation and currency devaluation, or military cuts, I'll bet on military cuts.

Sobriety hits all at a certain time, and the time is close for people in control of the US budget. It is either sobriety or get thrown in the tank.

jonst

Cal,

S&P did a whiz bang job on rating CDOs, didn't they? As Caligula is rumored to have, roughly, said about the people of Rome .....'would that S&P had but one neck that could be dealt with in one blow'.

They are playing political games.

And as far as an "end"....you'll have to define "end". If you mean no more US....well that is possible, but I think there would not be much left of the rest of the world in that event. If, on the other hand, you mean an "end" to the Empire, with its endless quest for military and economic world dominance, I say 'good'.

Patrick Lang

TTG

Maybe that is something different in the reserve or maybe they have changed the law.

WRC

"lkeydet" is a VMI expression. WP ers are just plain old "cadets." They actually do get a pretty good education at the service academies although it tends to shy away from lopen ended questions. pl

Patrick Lang

WRC

As that fellow at the WP suggested a couple of years ago we should close the service academies and the war colleges. IMO these second lieutenant factories arefrightfully expensive and they breed cliquishness and careerism. TTG and a few of the people who visit here are perfect examples of officers who are not service academy grads. I was never able to see any difference in quality. the war colleges have become second or third rate graduate schools. In both cases the services should screen for people they want and then send them to civilian institutions. In the case of officer candidates they can be putinto military training all summer since they would be fully funded in college. Before someone starts saying "sour grapes" about my opinion, remember I was an SES-4. None of this will happen of course. The American public thnk of the service academies as a freeby that one of their relatives might get. After all, it IS a completely free education. Inertia will keep the war colleges alive. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL!

Fred

"...go ask the dead French..." Yes! We should ask Phillip IV how to get out of debt. Though his solution might be uncomfortable for people with names like Paulson, Rubin, Koch, Devos, etc.

The Twisted Genius

Both Colonel Lang's and Doctor Brenner's skeptical and pessimistic views of the coming national security budget battles are spot on. There will be no honest review and prioritizing of our real requirements. There will be no matching of available resources to these priorities. There will be only dirty, internecine bureaucratic wars with no quarter asked and none given. If I were king, which I am not, I'd start with a list of a score of commands, agencies, activities and centers that would be eliminated with no transfer of funds, billets or contracts. Then I'd sit back and watch the slaughter begin... cockfighting on the Potomac.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Pat Lang,

One of the reasons why necessary actions won't be taken, I humbly submit, is that we are, collectively, victims of a national myth. The myth has it that, if the situation gets really bad, we, simply because we're Americans, will always get together, work hard, and prevail. The examples most often used are the new deal, WWII, and the race to the moon. As I see it strategic overstretch, fighting wars with borrowed money, and an orgy of bureaucratic empire building have eliminated our options.

WPFIII

jonst

I'll take your bet Marcus....while rooting for you to win. But I'll take the bet....

Shrinking 'pies, when they shrink enough, force masks to come off people's souls. And you see their true side.

Charles I

um, Pat, what is the national interest that might rationally drive futureconfiguration and procurement?

Charles I

Bravo Michael Brenner. 400bn over 13 yrs, a return to 2008!!! levels, its nothing. And then on to the question. what's it for?

Ergo, perforce frothing over the plans, not a peep about the strategy, let alone the purpose.

Carafanos needs good equipment, but where to drive and park for ones . . . .protection/profit/pleasure/plunder/procreation imperatives two unanswered questions

William R. Cumming

FRED! How about a generic MORTMAIN statute? 10% of GDP is in the nonprofit sector in USA!

Medicine Man

Televise is on Pay-per-view, TTG, and you may help the US budget in more ways than one.

Norbert M Salamon

As Doctor Brenner's explained the proposed cut is next to nothing.

It seems to me that the commentators have missed an important data point based on IMF release that the USA has to finance approx 28% of their GDP between new and maturing debt instruments in 2011

please peruse table at [halfway down the article]:

http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/chris-martenson/insolvent-and-going-deeper

Only Japan is worse [but they ahd a tsusami].

Under this circumstance, the $4 trillion dollar cut in 10 or 12 years is totally meaningless, and within that envelop the DoD cut is not even mentionable.

Fred

WRC,

"non-profit" should more accurately be called 'tax exempt". Certainly the multitude of foundations should be reviewed as to thier contributions to society and the subsidies they recieve by being effectively exempted from the taxes that support our society.

Fred

Norbert,

To para-phrase the celebrated Prefect of Police, Captain Renault; "I'm shocked" that America is insolvent, especially since the good Chris Martenson PhD said this almost 5 years ago, too:http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/chris-martenson/the-united-states-is-insolvent

But then I have no phd in neurotoxicology only a lowly MBA and no popular website. I do, though, understand where the money went and where to go get it to solve the 'crisis'. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/04/taxes-richest-americans-charts-graph

Hopefully some will remember when Paul Ryan thought the debt was too small:http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/86893/remembering-when-paul-ryan-worried-the-debt-was-too-small

A little Googling and you'll find Alan Greenspan's worrying about the problems America would face if we paid off the national debt, that was one of the justifications for the Bush tax cuts:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,96747,00.html
"Greenspan went to the Hill on Thursday to testify before the Senate Budget Committee... Bush's $1.3 trillion tax cut ..."
Ten years of $1.3trillion a year tax cuts plus the $1 trillion of budget war in Iraq sure seems to add up to $14 trillion to me.

Norbert M Salamon

Fred:

in 10 years the debt limit was raised 10 times [more than doubled], and it appears that it be raised a few more times.

The Q is who will underwrite the loans, can not be EU, they have their own problems. Will not be China, for she does not earn enough in balance of payments to have the cash [beside which it is starting to turning USD paper into EURO papers], will not be UK, for she is in same position as USA, except started cutting the deficit, the off shore Carribean is approx 250 billion, nowhere close, The Opec countries seem to have to buy off their citizens, so they will not have the cash [they also finance part of the USA military industry by purchaces]. PIMCO quit the USA Treasuries, so please find the ones who can buy beside the money printing FEDs.

You are to add up approx 1 trillion $+ for a number of years.

Thanks for the links, If USE debt was calculated as EURO land, 5 years ago a case could have been made that the USA was essentially bankrupt.

Mr. Walker, the past Comptroller General of the USA, clearly indicated that there is no solution without major uprooting the USA budgets [federal to muni] and there does not seem to be any effort to do this, rather more postpone and pretend, from Banking [no mark to market], to Government [no enforcement against banksters, mortgage fraud etc, Fannie Mae and Fanie Mac.'s debt no reflection on US Federal debt, etc]], from Medical overspending, to protecting insurance companies, and no doubt, with your MBA and other links could enlarge my list.

As A Canadian, the coming economic upheaval will effect me. such is life. As a rational human being, with osme moral basis, I deplore the politicians who have created the mess in USA, Euroland, Canada, and other places.

It is especially disgusting, that all the postpone and pretend is at the expense of the neext generation, indicating to the total corruption of the political class and their enablers, for their act is against the evoltionary theory of doing the best for the next generation - natural imperative, else die off.

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