President Obama has finally identified a portion of the federal budget that can safely be cut without imperiling the economy, the middle class or national security: ground troops.
The Obama administration will unveil a "more realistic" vision for the military on Thursday, with plans to cut tens of thousands of ground troops and invest more in air and sea power at a time of fiscal restraint, officials familiar with the plans said on Wednesday.
The strategic review of U.S. security interests will also emphasize an American presence in Asia, with less attention overall to Europe, Africa and Latin America alongside slower growth in the Pentagon's budget, the officials said.
Though specific budget cut and troop reduction figures are not set to be announced on Thursday, officials confirmed to Reuters they would amount to a 10-15 percent decline in Army and Marine Corps numbers over the next decade, translating to tens of thousands of troops.Given that the world is a safer place, and America is so much more beloved in the golden age of Obama-the-wise than it was in the dark days of his bungling predecessor, Bush-the-stupid-and-mean, who needs troops in Europe, Africa and Latin America?
"When some army brigades start coming out of Afghanistan, they will basically disappear," one official said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the defense cuts stemming from an August debt ceiling deal - worth about $489 billion over 10 years - need to be enacted carefully.
The military could be forced to cut another $600 billion in defense spending over 10 years unless Congress takes action to stop a second round of cuts mandated in the August accord.That wouldn't be the same trillion dollars of cuts that Democrats insisted on including in the August budget deal in order to snooker Republicans into forgetting this nonsense about cutting federal spending, would it?
Meanwhile, federal employment has grown steadily under President Obama.
In fact, at the end of the 2010 census, federal employment was even higher than it had been at the beginning of the recession. Even controlling for the effects of census employment, federal employment has increased constantly throughout the recession and into today. Since January 2008, net of census hiring, the federal government has grown by 3.5 percent, gaining 98,000 jobs (emphasis added).So, big government--federal and state--has grown. That is where politicians and bureaucrats feed at the trough. Local government--the easiest part of government to keep an eye on--has shrunk modestly.
What about employment in the rest of the economy? Since the beginning of the recession, state governments have added 42,000 employees to their payrolls. Local governments have cut 258,000 jobs (1.7 percent of their January 2008 workforce). Overall, total government employment has shrunk by 0.5 percent since January 2008. And the private sector has lost 7.2 million jobs, or 6 percent of its January 2008 workforce.
Meanwhile, private sector employment, where the middle class works and lives, has collapsed.
Yet, to the mind of our go-it-alone President, who only wants to protect the middle class and strengthen the nation, the opportune place to cut is ground troops.
Noman can't be bothered with thinking about the ramifications of it all. Rather, he patiently awaits release of the Osama bin Laden raid movie to remind him of what a great and decisive military leader President Obama is.