Archive for the ‘BUDGET FOR 2013’ Category


Friday, January 18th, 2013


The Wall Street Journal

  • January 11, 2013

Sandy Relief by the (Remarkable) Numbers

The $61 billion proposal translates to $69 million per linear mile of coastline from Maryland to Maine.


President Obama asked Congress for $61 billion for various relief programs following Hurricane Sandy. The Senate approved the full request late last month, but so far the House has approved just $9.7 billion, for flood-insurance claims. The House will soon vote on the remaining $51 billion in proposed aid.

Sandy was an unusually large storm that did substantial damage to the Eastern Seaboard. More than eight million people lost power and perhaps as many as 100,000 were left homeless. Thousands of buildings were destroyed or damaged along the coastline from Maryland to Maine.

Many people don’t appreciate how large these numbers are, in particular the size of the proposed relief. Consider some simple comparisons. The $61 billion aid package represents:•

$194 for each person in the United States (315 million);

• $530 for each U.S. household (115 million);

• 10.5 hours of work for each employed worker in the United States (244 million at the average private nonfarm hourly wage of $23.73);

• a year of wages for 1.3 million construction workers (average construction wage of $25.98/hour);

• $69 million per linear mile of coastline (890 miles from Maryland to Maine, of which only a fraction experienced significant damage), or $4.3 million per mile of coastline including all tidal areas (14,258 miles, of which 60% are in the relatively undamaged states of Delaware, Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts); (more…)



Wednesday, January 16th, 2013


The Wall Street Journal

  •  January 11, 2013

Rivkin and Casey: The Myth of Government


The Constitution commands that public debts be repaid. There is no such obligation to fund entitlement programs.


 EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: …..since the federal government’s roughly $200 billion in tax revenue per month is more than sufficient to service existing debts. If the executive chose to act irresponsibly and unconstitutionally and failed to make any debt payments when they come due, debt-holders would be able to go to the Court of Federal Claims and promptly obtain a money judgment.

Three false arguments, pushed hard by the Obama administration and accepted on faith by the media and much of the political establishment, must be laid to rest if the American people are to understand the issues at stake in the federal “debt ceiling” debate.

The first is that Congress’s failure to raise the debt ceiling—the amount of money the federal government is authorized to borrow at any given time—will cause a default on the national debt. The second is that federal entitlement programs are constitutionally protected from spending cuts. The third is that the president can raise the debt ceiling on his own authority. 

To take up the first canard: Contrary to White House claims, Congress’s refusal to permit new borrowing by raising the debt ceiling limit will not trigger a default on America’s outstanding public debt, with calamitous consequences for our credit rating and the world’s financial system. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment provides that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned”; this prevents Congress from repudiating the federal government’s lawfully incurred debts.

The original concern of this provision was to guarantee the integrity of federal debts incurred during and immediately after the Civil War (while the debts of the Confederacy were nullified permanently), and to ensure that a newly “reconstructed” Congress—to which the Southern states were readmitted—would not reverse these decisions. However, the amendment’s language was not limited to the Civil War-related debts. In Perry v. United States (1935), the Supreme Court made clear that the provision “indicates a broader connotation” protecting the nation’s debts as a whole.

This means that a failure to raise the debt ceiling—to prevent new borrowing—does not and cannot put America’s current creditors at risk. So long as this government exists, and barring a further constitutional amendment, those creditors must be paid.  (more…)



Wednesday, January 9th, 2013


Printed from the News & Observer –
 Tue, Jan 08, 2013

Memo to Obama: Make more millionaires to tax

By Thomas L. Friedman     – The New York Times

The U.S. military trains its fighter pilots on a principle called the “OODA Loop.” It stands for observe, orient, decide, act. The idea is that if your OODA Loop is faster and more accurate than the other pilot’s, you’ll shoot his plane out of the sky. If the other pilot’s OODA Loop is better, he’ll shoot you down.

Right now, our national OODA Loop is broken. We are doing something crazy – taking the country back and forth to the financial brink to produce suboptimal, midnight compromises without any overall plan for how this will lead to growth in the world in which we’re living. We’re doing the worst thing a country can do – cutting taxes and spending without a plan.

Maybe you can grow without a plan. But if you want to ensure that every scarce dollar gets the biggest bang, you can’t cut without a plan. It’s deciding and acting without observing and orienting. It’s how fighter pilots get shot down.

President Barack Obama, by his own admission, focused his campaign almost exclusively on the need to raise taxes on the wealthy, and the Republicans focused theirs on lowering them. But neither one offered the country what we need most: a description of what world we’re living in, what is new and how we maximize our ability to compete and grow in this world – and then offering up a comprehensive, detailed plan of appropriate phased-in spending cuts, tax reforms and investments in research, infrastructure and early childhood education to create more good jobs and the workers to fill them.

What world are we living in? It’s a world in which we face three major challenges: responding to the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution, which is changing every job and workplace; dealing with our mounting debt and entitlement burdens, driven by steadily rising health care costs and unsustainable defined benefits; and, finally, developing energy sources that can grow the world economy without tipping it into disruptive climate change.

(At one point last week, the Senate approved a $60.4 billion aid package to help New York and New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy. If fully implemented, that would mean we’d spend on one storm all the new tax revenue for next year that the House and Senate just agreed to in the fiscal-cliff negotiations.) (more…)



Sunday, November 11th, 2012


The Wall Street Journal

  •  November 7, 2012

The Air Force’s Flight to Weakness

It didn’t hurt him on the campaign trail, but President Obama has sharply cut our capabilities while China and Russia keep building.


Mr. David, a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, was a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Dunn, a former president and CEO of the Air Force Association, is a retired Air Force lieutenant general.

Serious talk of America’s defense budget was largely absent from the final weeks of the presidential campaign, once President Barack Obama likened Gov. Mitt Romney’s concerns to an anachronistic focus on “horses and bayonets.” But when Mr. Romney lamented that (among other things) the U.S. Air Force has the fewest airplanes it has ever had, he was correct. At its founding in 1947, it had more than 12,300 planes. Today: approximately 5,200.

As the Air Force has been retiring large numbers of older aircraft in recent years, its budgets—drafted by the Pentagon and ultimately enacted by Congress—have prevented it from acquiring enough new aircraft to perform the missions of those retired. From 2008 through 2012, the Air Force retired 700 more aircraft than it bought.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2013 sought to retire an additional 300 airplanes while buying only 54 new ones—a proposal that Congress has so far refused to endorse. The last time the U.S. bought so few aircraft was 1915 (for the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, an Air Force predecessor). The U.S. even bought more aircraft during the Great Depression.

Then there is the matter of how America’s offensive and defensive capabilities have weakened over the past 20 years compared with those of its adversaries and potential adversaries. From that perspective, Mr. Romney’s critical statements on defense cutbacks didn’t begin to portray how perilous is the state of the Air Force—and how soon its weaknesses might begin endangering missions essential to U.S. national security.


Associated PressAn Air Force ground-crew member works on a KC-135 Stratotanker at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, on Aug. 14. The airplane was built in 1958. (more…)



Friday, May 25th, 2012
Published on The Weekly Standard (

Flying Not Quite as High

Our threatened airpower.

Michael Auslin

May 7, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 32
The  release of the Obama administration’s defense budget in January makes clear just how the president intends to reshape the U.S. military. For starters, the Army will shrink 14 percent by 2017, the Marines will decrease by 20,000, six Air Force fighter squadrons will be deactivated, and the Navy will make do with fewer ships. Putting skin on this skeleton is the Defense Strategic Guidance, released in January at the Pentagon. Most significantly, the document calls for a shift of resources to Asia and promises that America will “maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged” by states like China and Iran. Yet in Secretary of Defense Panetta’s own words, U.S. forces will have to do this while facing “profound challenges” and relying on “low-cost and small-footprint approaches” to achieving national security objectives.

Unfortunately, the president’s goals cannot be met by the ends he proposes. In particular, the administration’s plans will demand a much greater role for the airpower capabilities of both the Air Force and Navy. Yet under current plans both services will see their qualitative and quantitative air edge over competitors shrink, as they lose airplanes, operate an aging force, and face greater threats from adversaries.

Already the functions of the Air Force underpin everything America’s Joint Force does, from surveillance to transport, and from close combat to cyber defense. Airpower advocates point to the sea- and land-based air destruction of Saddam Hussein’s military in the 1991 Gulf war, the 1999 Allied Force air campaign against Yugoslavia, and last year’s action in support of the Libyan rebellion as proof of how airpower can overcome an enemy’s order of battle, command and control, and warfighting spirit. At the same time, airpower dominance allows us to deploy minimal numbers of combat ground forces and reduces civilian casualties and collateral damage. (more…)



Friday, May 4th, 2012



Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Published on The Weekly Standard (

A Tale of Two Budgets

Paul Ryan draws the contrast Republicans will need this fall.

Yuval Levin

April 2, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 28
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  On one hand are Obama’s 15 numinous know-it-alls, charged with setting prices, rationing care, and finding just the right balance between quality and access from Washington, and without the power to change Medicare’s payment system. And on the other hand is a system that seeks efficiency by having 50 million consumers in search of the quality they want at the lowest price they can find pressuring 15 million insurance and health care providers to find innovative ways to meet their demands and make a good living. One involves sheer faith in expert managers, and the other involves using real economics to lift the burden of the oppressive fee-for-service system and enable a new era of innovation, efficiency, and quality in American health care. It is hard to imagine a clearer contrast for voters than that between the two visions of government, and of American life, at the heart of these two proposals​—​and indeed, at the heart of these two budgets

Last spring, when House Republicans passed Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s ambitious fiscal agenda, it would have been easy to make two basic guesses about the proposal’s lasting impact: On the one hand, it seemed that the budget’s focus on the immense scope of the fiscal calamity heading our way would put the deficit and debt at the center of our politics for the rest of Barack Obama’s term. But on the other hand, it looked like the Medicare proposal in the budget would be highly controversial and politically risky.

For a time, both predictions seemed to be confirmed by events. The Ryan budget forced President Obama essentially to retract the budget he had proposed two months earlier and replace it with a vague series of promises to address the deficit and debt. There followed several months of budget showdowns, with Republicans setting the agenda, even if they got only a small portion of the spending cuts they sought. Meanwhile, the Democrats were in full attack mode on Medicare, accusing Republicans of pushing old ladies off cliffs and asserting that the defense of “Medicare as we know it” would be the centerpiece of their own election platform.

As the year went on, however, both predictions turned out to be wrong. The case for saving Medicare (and with it the federal budget) from bankruptcy through consumer choice and competition quickly gained the status of Republican orthodoxy​—​with most of the party’s presidential candidates backing it, just about every congressional Republican voting for it, and almost no conservative commentators and pundits opposing it. And voters did not seem to hold it against Republicans, especially when contrasted with President Obama’s proposal to reduce Medicare spending by empowering the Independent Payment Advisory Board​—​a panel of 15 experts​—​to ration care. By November, the New York Times was reporting that the merits of a Ryan-style reform were getting a serious look beyond Republican ranks and “some Democrats say that​—​if carefully designed, with enough protections for beneficiaries​—​it might work.” In December, Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon joined with Ryan to propose a bipartisan version of the idea. (more…)



Sunday, April 1st, 2012


Published on The Weekly Standard (

A Path to Security

Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly

April 2, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 28EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  To be sure, these are only first steps toward undoing the damage of the Obama years. In 2009, President Obama’s first year in office—and while ramming an $800 billion “stimulus” bill through Congress—the White House directed $330 billion in defense cuts. The next year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates went looking for “efficiencies” to reinvest in priority programs; thank you, said the president, I’ll take another $100 billion from your budget. And under the 2011 BCA, Obama harvested $487 billion from the Pentagon, charging it with the full bill for cuts needed from all “security” accounts, as the law described them. So Barack Obama has racked up about $920 billion in defense cuts to date.

Rep. Paul Ryan calls his budget plan the “Path to Prosperity,” but it could be termed as well a “Path to Security.” In reclaiming more than $200 billion of the nearly $500 billion in military cuts made in last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA), the House Budget Committee chairman takes national security more seriously than does our commander in chief.

To be sure, these are only first steps toward undoing the damage of the Obama years. In 2009, President Obama’s first year in office—and while ramming an $800 billion “stimulus” bill through Congress—the White House directed $330 billion in defense cuts. The next year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates went looking for “efficiencies” to reinvest in priority programs; thank you, said the president, I’ll take another $100 billion from your budget. And under the 2011 BCA, Obama harvested $487 billion from the Pentagon, charging it with the full bill for cuts needed from all “security” accounts, as the law described them. So Barack Obama has racked up about $920 billion in defense cuts to date.

But the president wants more. Because the congressional “supercommittee” could not agree to the larger savings mandated in the budget control law, the president’s 2013 budget does nothing to keep the sequestration guillotine from coming down on October 1, chopping an automatic $55 billion per year out of defense budgets, allocated across each and every program. That would push the administration’s defense-cut total past $1.4 trillion. Though he commands troops involved in an ongoing war, Obama won’t lift a finger to avoid what his defense secretary has described as a catastrophe, unless taxes are raised. The net effect, as Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, is that the United States will no longer be a global power. (more…)



Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • March 27, 2012, 6:37 p.m. ET

Ryan’s Budget Protects Defense

Within a plan to reduce outlays by $6.2 trillion over the next decade, Paul Ryan has found a way to replace $214 billion of the $487 billion in military spending cuts in Obama’s budget.


Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Kristol is a director of the Foreign Policy Initiative. Their three organizations compose the Defending Defense coalition.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:   Mr. Ryan takes some important first steps toward facing up to the true drivers of the federal government’s money woes: spending through “entitlement” programs. These now consume roughly 60% of the federal budget, up from 20% in 1970. In contrast, national defense, which comprised nearly 40% of the budget in the 1970s, costs less than 20% today, even with current war spending. Absent reform, entitlements will spiral upward and crowd out all other federal spending—not just on the military.

In an election year, it’s all too easy for politicians to defer hard choices until after the polls have closed in November. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) has taken the more difficult road with his “Path to Prosperity” budget.

Mr. Ryan’s plan has received much attention for tackling America’s spiraling expenditures on entitlements and domestic discretionary spending. Less reported is the budget’s partial restoration of national defense as the No. 1 priority of the federal government.

Even within the framework of a plan to reduce outlays by $6.2 trillion over the next decade, Mr. Ryan has found a way to replace $214 billion of the $487 billion in military spending reductions that are in Barack Obama’s budget. And he has done so while avoiding the tax increases proposed by the president.

Conservatives recognize that they have to deal with fiscal reality and get the federal government’s balance sheet in order. That is why Mr. Ryan’s plan is so bold. It does not cut indiscriminately, focusing instead on the true drivers of our spending crisis and recognizing that tax increases would worsen our economic situation.

The Ryan plan also helps to reverse what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called the “catastrophic” process of sequestration—the year-after-year, automatic cuts agreed to in last summer’s debt-limit deal between the president and the House leadership. These cuts will eviscerate the United States military if Congress does not quickly pass a law to undo them this year. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made plain the consequences of sequestration: “We would no longer be a global power.”

The contrast between the House Republican budget and that of our current commander-in-chief is striking. President Obama has been arguing that raising taxes is the only solution to sequestration that he will accept. In other words, he asks the nation to decide between higher taxes and a weaker defense. Mr. Ryan rejects either solution.

Getty ImagesHouse Budget Committee members hold copies of the ‘Path to Prosperity’ budget (more…)



Monday, March 26th, 2012

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