Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spending Freeze

President Accountability, ever looking to hold the wrong people accountable for the problems in the country, is proposing a two year spending freeze on the salaries of civilian employees.

The administration acknowledges that the $28 billion in savings is a drop in the bucket of the $1.3 trillion deficit, but this is "a symbolic gesture" to make people feel the Obama administration is doing something to hold down spending.

Meanwhile Gregg Easterbrook details the profligate spending that the Pentagon is doing:

This year, the United States will spend at least $700 billion on defense and security. Adjusting for inflation, that’s more than America has spent on defense in any year since World War II—more than during the Korean war, the Vietnam war, or the Reagan military buildup. Much of that enormous sum results from spending increases under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Since 2001, military and security expenditures have soared by 119 percent.

For most of that time, of course, the United States has been fighting two wars. Yet that’s not the cause of the defense-spending explosion. Even if the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are subtracted, the defense budget has swelled by 68 percent since 2001. (All money figures in this article are stated in 2010 dollars.) The U.S. defense budget is now about the same as military spending in all other countries combined.

In a historically unusual twist, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican appointee and a former CIA director, has repeatedly acknowledged that military costs are untenable and decried the Pentagon’s “culture of endless money.” But despite Gates’s advocacy, and Obama’s backing, not much has changed. Congressional leaders nod in agreement at talk of reform—then demand that their pet projects be fully funded. A recent Gates proposal, received as if it heralded dramatic cuts, seeks merely to constrain Pentagon budget growth to 2 percent to 3 percent over inflation. At that pace, defense and security costs will hit a ruinous $1 trillion annually by 2030.

So Obama will get $28 billion in savings by freezing government employees salaries while the Pentagon continues to throw hundreds of billions at projects that do nothing to keep us safer but certainly manage to enrich the companies (and people) involved.

This disconnect between the actual causes of the current economic and fiscal crisis the U.S. is suffering from and the people who get blamed for it drives me batty.

It's just like when Obama blamed the 2008 credit crises and financial collapse on public schools.

Public schools had NOTHING to do with the problems brought to us by the housing bubble, securitization, or insolvent banks.

But politicians of both parties know it's fun and profitable to scapegoat government workers, unionized workers and/or public schools for all the problems that have been brought to us by income disparity, Wall Street greed, and corporate corruption.


  1. I think Wikileaks' leak is the equivalent of body scan/groping for the ruling class. I can't help chuckling Hillary running around like a chicken with its head cut. First it is "BOO! it is a crime" blah blah... Then it is pooh-pooh - "oh it is no big deal". Mr.Cool/Prez Accountability is yet to drop pearls from his mouth.

  2. In Obama lala-land :
    If you do real meaningful work helping/providing services the peasants/unwashed need, you get a pay freeze.
    If you work for the Empire or connected with fighting the wars of the rich and the capitalists, you will get a raise (though soldiers with severe injuries could be falsely kicked out on the grounds of "personality disorder").

    Welcome to the Banana Republic of USA !

  3. And don't forget the fantastic infrastructure!