A couple of topics in today’s Wall Street Journal caught my eye. The first is that the DoD is forecasting disastrous consequences if the Pentagon undergoes a $52B sequestration budget cut. Yet in an AP article, according to Todd Harrison of the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, the Pentagon will still maintain a total annual budget, adjusted for inflation, of well over $500 billion a year for the rest of the decade.
On another subject in today’s WSJ was an article written by Erica Phillips and Ann Zimmerman that featured some of the following statistics. In 1991 the US Forest Service and Interior Department Agencies spent a combined $206m for fire suppression; $953m in 2001 and $1.7b in 2011. And yet funding for the Forest Service’s hazardous-fuels program will be cut to $201m from $301m and the Interior Department’s budget would drop to $96b from $145. This may be a cheap shot, OK, it is, but I wonder how that makes the families and friends of the 19 fallen fire fighters feel.
I’m reminded of the 1993 movie, DAVE, where Kevin Kline stars as an ersatz POTUS and gathers his cabinet around a conference table in order to balance the budget (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZARAldXlSyA). Sure, it’s a movie, but would it be too much to ask our acrimonious Congress to do something similar? And could the Pentagon get by with just a little less to help out the Forest Service and Department of the Interior?