Friday, June 15, 2007

Clinton & Bush Budget Priorities: Home to Roost

The headline reads:

Guard running low on equipment
And the story confirms that the equipment levels of various State National Guard organizations is, on average, around 55-60% of authorized strength.
The Governor-ette of Kansas tried to make something of it--and simply made a fool of herself in the process.
Of course, the story's impact also depends on the level of ignorance of the readers. If you don't know too much, it looks kinda bad.
In fact, the "shortage" of equipment is a result of strangling the Pentagon's purchases budget during the Clinton and GWB years. Since Guard equipment is (mostly) "hand-me-downs" from active military outfits, it follows that when the active military cannot get new equipment, it will hold on to what it does have.
That means that Guard outfits will not be over-supplied.
The Clinton Administration has presented its defense budget request for fiscal years 1998 through 2002. While the amount requested for defense is $19 billion higher in budget authority than sought last year, it is still inadequate to fund the current defense policy, which was established after the Pentagon's now-discredited 1993 Bottom-Up Review. President Clinton's new budget falls about $105 billion short of fully funding the forces that this Administration's review identified as necessary to defend American security and freedom.
...This is a "no-win" defense budget: All of the possible outcomes will be injurious to U.S. national security. After four years of refusing to come to terms with the problem of national defense, the Clinton Administration has chosen once again to kick the can down the road, leaving the coming defense budget crunch to be solved at some later time.
Another substantial chunk of Bush's buildup has gone toward higher salary, health care and retirement costs associated with sustaining a fully professional, family-oriented military. This, too, contrasts with Reagan's spending increase, much of which went to buying fleets of tanks, helicopters, aircraft and other military equipment.

"A lot of the extra money that the president is giving us is being soaked up not in hardware or structure, but in compensation," said Lt. Gen. Jerry Sinn, the Army's top budget officer.
So USAToday frets that "equipment is short," and wants to pin the tail on ....Bush? Iraq?
Certainly not Clinton--and certainly not on overall US Budget priorities.

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