Now that the Olympics are over, we have some interesting budget news coming out of Washington D.C. – the Obama administration is proposing cuts to the U.S. military, but much smaller cuts than what would have occurred under President Obama’s budget sequester, which was adopted as part of the Budget Control Act of 2012. The Washington Post reports on the newly reduced cuts:
The Defense Department on Monday proposed cutting the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, slashing a class of attack jets and rolling back personnel costs in an effort to adjust a department buoyed by a decade of war to an era of leaner budgets.
Under the proposal, during the next five years the Pentagon would get $115 billion above the savings it would have had to find under sequestration but $113 billion less than the spending levels contemplated in last year’s budget proposal.
Doing the math, what that means is that instead of having to cut $228 billion of its spending over the next five years, as it otherwise would have to cut under the terms of the budget sequester, the Defense Department will instead cut its spending by just under half of that amount.
Originally, the U.S. Defense Department was going to have to bear half of all spending cuts mandated under President Obama’s budget sequester, with the other half of the mandated spending cuts to be applied to “civilian” government agencies, like the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Interagency Coordinating Committee, the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the Department of Education, which saw 95% of its employees declared to be nonessential during the partial federal government shutdown during the first two-and-a-half weeks of October 2013.
Word has leaked out of the White House however that rather than seeing any reductions in spending, President Obama’s next budget proposal will boost that kind of discretionary spending instead:
With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.
At least we know what President Obama’s priorities really are now, which can be summed up by the last two words of the preceding paragraph.