Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wire: Obama Budget Cuts Military Funding While Pentagon Outlays Rise

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2009 -- Newswires have reported for the last few days about the Pentagon's proposed 2010 budget.

Perhaps in an attempt to portray the story as an overall increase in support for the military, many news outlets decided to focus on the Pentagon's increased spending request without reporting President Obama's funding cuts.

The Washington Post reported on May 8 that Obama has targeted the Department of Defense to absorb more than 80 percent of the cuts he has proposed in next year's budget for discretionary programs.

In its Terminations, Reductions and Savings (pdf download) booklet, which the administration released Thursday, the White House highlighted the results of the president's so-called line-by-line scrubbing of the federal budget, the Washington Post noted.

The Washington post reported the following details:
The administration identified $11.5 billion in discretionary program terminations and reductions for next year. The Defense Department will take a $9.4 billion hit, constituting 82 percent of the cuts. Defense accounts for 49 percent of spending on discretionary programs, which Congress must fund each year.

The White House identified a total of $17 billion in spending cuts, including cuts in mandatory programs that mostly involve entitlements.

[. . .]

The $17 billion in total cuts represents less than one-half of 1 percent of the $3.6 trillion 2010 budget the president proposed in February, and it is less than 1 percent of this year's budget deficit.

While defense spending accounts for 19 percent of the federal budget, it would absorb 55 percent of $17 billion in total cuts.
Some economists point out that even if Congress approves the cuts resulting in $17 billion in savings, those savings would not be realized as they would not reduce spending. Because of budget rules, all savings would be re-shifted to other programs.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Obama budget cuts target military funding

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