KE Cellars

Some questions about money for the president.

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Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, January 5, 2012.

Have you ever been quizzed about money? Have you ever been put on the spot about your spending? It’s never pleasant but it is very frequently useful. Some questions, the answers to which would be quite useful, popped into my mind yesterday.

President Obama made a rare appearance at the Pentagon Thursday to announce a plan to make deep cuts in the defense department budget. Among other provisions, tens of thousands of ground troops will be cut from the rolls and the ability of the U.S. military to conduct two ground wars simultaneously will be eliminated. You have to believe that the bad guys are taking notice.

The president says the plan reflects a more balanced and realistic assessment of military spending in an era of soaring deficits. Well if the president is worried about soaring deficits, great. It’s about time.

I have no doubt that the Pentagon wastes money. I have no doubt that there is glaring and obvious inefficiency and that a top-to-bottom review would produce billions in savings. We all remember $800 aircraft toilet seats and $500 coffee makers. The Defense Department is, after all, a part of the federal government.

But if money is the issue, for crying out loud what about the rest of the government? Why the defense budget first? Say what you will about the Defense Department when the American military gets put in the field, the job gets done. Can that be said of other cabinet-level departments?

Why isn’t the president looking for a more balanced and realistic assessment of spending at the Department of Education for example? Since Obama took office the budget for the Department of Education has more than doubled, from $32.4 billion to $71.5 billion. The federal government has never spent more money on education and yet graduation rates and test scores continue to get worse. Is there not even the slightest possibility of cutting some spending at Education?

What about the Department of Energy? When it was formed in the Carter administration in 1977 the biggest justification for creating it was to help bring about American energy independence and to end reliance on imported oil. Of course we now import more oil than ever. Assuming that dissolving the department entirely is off the table, is there nothing of the $27 billion budget that might be trimmed and could we not live with something fewer than the department’s 16,000 federal employees? After all, it was the Department of Energy that gave us Solyndra.

The list goes on. What about the $700 billion and the 71,000 employees of the Department of Health and Human Services? Or the $43.7 billion and the 12,400 employees of the Department of Housing & Urban Development. Why no press conferences about cutting these departments?

Again, I have no doubt that a department that employs over 2.1 million civilians and uniformed personnel and spends over half a trillion dollars would benefit from a close order examination of its budget. But given that we still live in a dangerous world and given that the size, scope and spending of the civilian departments of the U.S. government have never been greater, if we’re looking to cut the deficit could we not look at departments other than defense first — or at the very least simultaneously?

Of all the cabinet-level departments just mentioned, defense is the only department whose function is specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. So why is the president’s sudden burst of fiscal rectitude directed at the military?

The answers to these question taken together constitute the big deal for this presidential election. The answers to these questions can and should inform your vote come this next November.


  1. Mark Olinger says:

    Surely this is all good news? To have all of these discussions about cuts to the defense budget and shift in strategy must mean the world is a safer place and that we do not need the current force structure, capabilities and modern equipment? The war against violent extremism is over and victory has been declared.

    Lst year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Congress that deeper defense cuts would leave the military with the smallest ground force since 1940, lead to possible furloughs of civilian employees, and force the Pentagon to recalibrate the country’s national security strategy to accept substantial risk. After a majority of its major wars including the Cold War, the U.S. Army has decreased its force structure and capabilities to conform to the desires of the American people and government policies.

    If history has shown us anything, it is that the future is always unpredictable and that the basic ingredient of success will continue to be a mind-set that allows the greatest speed and flexibility in adapting to new technologies, missions and constraints. Some of the answers to our future still remain, but the impact of not having a balanced military force structure now hits all of us squarely between the eyes. It is here and now and the issues of cost effectiveness, service capabilities and emerging concepts that need to be addressed.

  2. Jim collet says:

    Paul,

    As usual, you and I agree complelely. Bring on some sort of fiscal sanity to this process please!!!!!!

    Take care my friend and keep up the good work on these editorials.

    Jim Colet

  3. Linda E. Montrose says:

    The world is NEVER a safe place and a strong military is VERY important to our national security. After all, isn’t that what our government is SUPPOSED to do according to our CONSTITUTION? Provide for our defense against those who want to destroy us? I would never cut our defense budget. There are better ways to streamline our spending besides cutting the most important thing we have, our Military! You mentioned several, the department of education, department of energy, department of health and human services…all have no value now. Education has lacked considerably since the government stuck it’s nose in it and it needs turning back to the states. The government should never have the say so about what is taught in our schools. All we have to do is read our history…oh, I forgot the government deems that not necessary anymore, learning about history. If we were to do that, then we might learn about Hitler and other dictators who mandate what is taught in schools!
    There are so many “departments” we could cut out completely because they are redundant, just make-do jobs for one party or the other as payback for votes. This has to stop. We are finally seeing what others have seen and tried to stop in the past. We can not keep going at this rate and survive. We NEED to go back to our FOUNDING PRINCIPLES instead of letting presidents such as the one we have now trash them. I hate to keep harping on this, but obama’s main objective in being in the Whitehouse in the first place was to bring down this Nation and become a dictator. He has acted the part from the very beginning. And going back to money, what about the constant state of vacation the first family is in…how much of tax payer money has he wasted? Yes, a president is due a vacation now and then just like everyone else. But the extravagance this first family has gone to exceeds all bounds. They act like kids in a candy store with no limits. Grabbing all they can while they can, just in case someone comes in and stops them. This is how a dictator acts…no regard for the people and their hardships. He tells US to tighten OUR belts. Should a president act as a role model by curbing their activities also? But NO! They take vacation after vacation and flaunt it in the faces of the people. All this president does is hide behind smokescreen after smoke screen, lying to the American people in the hopes they are not smart enough to know the difference. He is counting on short term memory of the people to forget that it was obama, himself, that got us in this mess in the first place! All this from a man who was not eligible to be where he is in the first place! Just goes to show how gullible the American people are and how CORRUPT our government really is!

  4. J. S. Smith says:

    Paul: A you quite often do, you let your hatred, or at least a great dislike, for President Obama override your common sense. I doubt if there is anything this duly elected President could do that would please you unless he resigned. You take a very important step of reducing Government spending by our President and turn it into a ‘bash Obama’ as usual opportunity. Government spending reduction has got to start someplace, why not the Defense Department? After all, it is the largest ‘pork barrel’ of the entire US Government (just ask our two Senators). It has more civilian employees and more of our dollars than all the other Departments put together. So, why not, if I may ask, start there? The other Departments will, I can almost guarantee you, get their time in the ‘bullseye’ of cutting. Oh, by the way, you didn’t mention that this President, already froze all promotions and pay raises for ALL government employees for at least 2 years. What would happen to your employees if you did that? You would probably be left to run the station all by yourself, I suspect.

  5. C M Solomon says:

    Since hatred of Obama-the-Great, The Supreme Leader of the World to bring Hope, Change, Social Justice, and Shared Prosperity to the entire world has entered the conversation; let me explain what kind of true HATRED for you and me and our God given Liberties is underway by this fraud of a President. This is real, not hyperbole.

    He was raised, taught, pastored, befriended, supported and defended by some of the most anti-American, Marxist/Socialist malefactors in government, business, entertainment, education and media that this country has ever produced. Obama-the-Great camouflaged his true beliefs and his determination to SPIT on the Constitution and replace it with a secret government that passes 2000+ page laws that were prepared in secret that no one was allowed to read or digest prior to being approved by a Democrat Congress dictatorship led by Pelosi and Reid, The Puppets. These laws hide the automatic explosion of draconian regulations that will affect every behavior that you now consider an enjoyable freedom. This is all for your own good, don’t you know.

    Our Constitution is our ultimate protection against the illegal adoption of laws that avoid our Representative form of government. The Constitution (if honored) forces the President, the Congress, and the Judiciary to obey the checks and balances that must be practiced in order to avoid this country turning into a dictatorship by the ruling class. The ruling class is empowered by the huge, over powerful, government agencies such as the following when controlled by the unaccountable Czars appointed by Obama-the-Great, some departments of which were named by Paul Gleiser.

    Department of Commerce (DOC)
    Department of Defense (DOD)
    Department of Education (ED)
    Department of Energy (DOE)
    Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Department of Labor (DOL)
    Department of State (DOS)
    Department of the Interior (DOI)
    Department of the Treasury
    Department of Transportation (DOT)
    Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

    Technology has evolved for these agencies (via regulation and electronic tracking) to control every single bit of your behavior in order to force you to accept their definition of a proper lifestyle with threat of severe penalties if you disobey. This is easily the fate of anyone that depends on government largess for their very existence. Your occupation, religious beliefs and practices, union membership, consumption of food, shelter, transportation, energy, retirement and healthcare must meet the standards of the regulators because you can’t risk making the government “gods” unhappy.

    The bottom line is that Obama-the-Great NEEDS most of these agencies of the Executive Department (above) to execute his vision of the benevolent Marxist utopia that should have been in our Constitution. It doesn’t take much imagination to see HOW our behavior can be manipulated to conform to the Obama model of the proper citizen in good standing. The technology is here to do it. Europe and Asia are leading the way.

    Ignore what is happening to our country at your own peril! The Obama bankruptcy of this country, currency, and culture is underway.

  6. “But if money is the issue, for crying out loud what about the rest of the government?” – P. Gleiser

    Money is not the issue. This is a ruse by the Deceptor-in-Chief. He is on a mission to weaken this country’s military in order to placate his Left wing and the totalitarian Marxist/Islamist countries he is trying to impress. A weakened US military guarantees our diminished influence around the World. He is on a mission to INCREASE the spending of the NANNY state as represented by the Executive departments that Paul listed. His deficit spending is to the tune of $4 BILLION per day, FOUR times the rate of the Bush Administration (also a fiscal discipline disgrace). We now have a national debt that is equal to the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), $15.23 trillion, a 40% increase on the BHO watch, alone. This debt is equal to the median income of Americans, 300 million times over. Are you concerned, yet?

    Barack Hussein Obama has recently asked for an additional $1.2 trillion in spending for this year. His mission to bankrupt this country is clear. Once that happens, he can rebuild it in his own image without serious opposition since the country will be looking for a Rescuer-in-Chief, such as FDR supposedly was.

    Paul, you have deftly exposed the BHO hypocrisy.

  7. Something else for the American people to think about…..Because of my past military service, I happen to know many SF personnel. These soldiers are highly trained and very good at what they do. In a particular unit are 22 with 10 years+ service, several deployments, etc. who have told me that if Obama is re-elected, they intend to end their military service. I don’t know how many throughout our military feel the same way, but it is worth comtemplating.
    If these experienced highly trained good people leave our military, it is weakening our defenses even more.

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