The debt ceiling bargain’s Doomsday Device

The debt ceiling bargain’s Doomsday Device

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney offered a slim ray of hope for the military-industrial complex on Monday as Washington scrambled to try to enact this weekend’s debt ceiling bargain: Although the deal involves $350 billion in Pentagon spending reductions over the next decade, the White House and congressional negotiators do not support the potential $500 billion second round of cuts, which would be triggered by a dead-man’s switch if Congress cannot approve some alternative. So the new “Super Congress” panel could call for additional DoD budget reductions, but they might amount to peanuts compared to a net total of $850 billion. The idea was to pick a number so high that everyone involved would have an incentive to avoid it, Carney said — not one that would be an acceptable fallback in case there was no deal.

Here was how the exchange went down:

REPORTER:  Jay, when people talk about the trigger and the automatic spending cuts, it seems to be portrayed as the Democrats won’t want to risk deep cuts to entitlements; Republicans won’t want to risk deep cuts to the Pentagon budget, but don’t deep cuts to the Pentagon budget also threaten the administration?

CARNEY:  We are not in support of cuts of that size. The President laid out in his framework his belief that working with then Secretary Gates and now Secretary Panetta that we can identify a further $400 billion over 12 years in reductions in defense spending.  And we achieved pretty much that, something on the order of that in this first round of firewalled discretionary spending cuts. So you’re right — I mean, this is not — let’s make clear that the President, as Commander-in-Chief and the way he views defense spending, does not support — would not support these kinds of cuts envisioned in the triggering mechanism either, but this is the point.  I mean, none of these outcomes are positive, and that is why they are to be avoided and why we believe Congress will avoid them and act through the joint committee.

REPORTER:   But were you to have these automatic cuts in military spending, would it impede the nation’s ability to wind down Iraq, to slowly wind down Afghanistan, to maintain its involvement in Libya?  Would all of these various national undertakings be called into question if you suddenly face the prospect of deep –

CARNEY:  Well, there are a lot of ifs, and I think as a point made earlier by Carol, the fact is, is that those cuts would not begin until 2013, if that trigger went off, was pulled.  And I think that, as you know, we are withdrawing all of our forces from Iraq, and we are already engaged in the drawdown of our surge forces in Afghanistan. So having said that, I’ll go back to my first point, which is that the President does not — has not called for and would not support these kinds of cuts in defense spending.  He believes that that opinion will be shared broadly by members of Congress, and that for that reason we will not get there.  This trigger will not be pulled, and therefore, we will achieve significant deficit reduction in a more balanced way.

This brings to mind the scene in “Dr. Strangelove” in which the eponymous doctor upbraids the Soviet ambassador for not revealing the existence of the Doomsday Device, which was supposed to deter a nuclear war by ending life on Earth no matter who attacked first. But the movie’s rogue American nuclear first strike takes place before the Soviets have announced it, ruining the whole effect.

The White House clearly views the budget cuts that would be triggered by the dead-man’s switch as a doomsday device, a  worst-case scenario, and it wants to jump-start the negotiations of the Super Congress by making clear that no one wants them to fail. One can only imagine the pressure that will be coming from the defense industry to try to keep this trap from springing.

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But who can longer trust Obama ? Obama has since he was elected cuts the Pentagon by about 400–500 Billions and kill a big part of the Investments in the future like the FCS, the F22 and many more Projects and every cut was followed by another cut. For example as Obama started is Presidency hi ordered Gates to find about 400 Billion in defence cuts for is progressive agenda and Gates has do this why he has believed what this would be part of the sacrifice was the DOD has to bring. Later Obama broke his promise to no seek more defence cuts and he seek again more Cuts and Gates has given him again about 100 Billion more from the DOD Budget and Obama has only spare the DOD from more cuts for just 5 Months before he betray Gates again and demanded another 400 later more them 500 Billion in defense cuts. In is proposed “grand bargain” Obama has even ask for about 800 Billion in defense cuts before the talks collapsed and he has also fully baked the Gang of Six Propose how has call for a 900 Billion cut in Pentagon and now he said he is against a cut off 800 Billion ? Sorry this Man has lost all is credibility and them he will get is involuntary 800 Billion cut he will ask for another 800 Billion 5 months later, this are Obamas tactic.

I think you’ll find that a presidental candiate’s expectations rarely survive contact with reality once they are elected. There is a lot the POTUS has to deal with that the candidates don’t see. This is in-turn treated by the voters as “broken campaign promises”. The position of the POTUS is very stressful and changes a person in many ways. For example, take a look at any presidental photograph taken at the begining of their term in office and compare it with another at the end of their term. Just my opinion.

i don’t think we are looking at the real problem here.… THERE IS ANOTHER “DEADMAN SWITCH”!!!!! If it isn’t the budget, it is the debt, and now this? How long do we need to go through this.

And as much as the budget cuts suck for the defense dept, think about all the other areas of our government that have been failing their citizens and yet continue to endure budget cuts. Education of our children, taking care of our seniors, assistance in the creation of jobs.… shall I go on?

At least the trigger goes both ways. You can’t have it all.

Mr. Carney seems to have a very high opinion of Congress to make decisions painful to themselves. There have been half a dozen debt reduction teams and panels over the past couple years and all of their recommendations have been ignored. The Gang of Six was supposed to come up with a bipartisan budget solution — and where are they? Now another committee is supposed to come up with a laundry list of budget cuts and changes to the system that nobody will like and Congress will approve? If they were capable of that they would have done that years ago. I think we will see a repeat of this last week’s events when it comes time to come up with a plan to avoid this “trigger” and we’ll be reading articles on here about what if Congress doesn’t pass the “trigger” avoiding budget cuts in time. The only thing Congress has shown us that they can do well in a bipartisan manner is putting off making decisions.

Maybe those candidates should avoid shelling out itemized lists of what they think they’ll accomplish if elected. It’s not like the candidates haven’t seen the soap opera Broken Campaign Promises played out in front of them before.

Don’t do cuts in DOD… let them have all.… ROME is burning .… cut in education and healthcare.…… no problem.… lets built a new multibillion super bomber and nobody will pay attention to the fire.

denial state, ask for exceptions etc .… pentagon looks like a small child. I want my new gameboy!!

It’s easy for the pentagon to ask for a new gameboy when they know members of Congress will step all over each other for that gameboy to be built in their city regardless of the price tag.

Text excerpt: “One can only imagine the pressure that will be coming from the defense industry to try to keep this trap from springing.”

Now I get it: The military-industrial complex is actually the national, patriotic hero who will convince the two parties to get along and thus avert a default of the U.S.A., an economic collapse, unrest, revolution and regime change in the Two-Party-Land!

Did Dr. Strangelove have a son?

There is a Constitutional mandate for the federal government to provide for defense. That is not true for education. In fact, the opposite is true. Education belongs to the states. Shut down the entire department, and quit sending money for it to D.C., and you have made a small step in the right direction.

When Congress requires cuts in the DoD budget, they do not reduce earmarks or directed spending. For example Congress may require $ 10 M to be spent on X. When the Defense budget gets cut by for example 10%, funding for X does not get reduced. This is one of the biggest distortions in Defense appropriations. Another example is with the Humvee, since it will be replaced by the JLTV, Congress stopped production. So now busted Humvee’s are repaired at a greater cost than just buying a new one.

IMHO, the DoD cuts that Congress is asking for could probably be met without drastic pain, if DoD is allowed to include cuts to Congressional pet projects.

I thinki congress and the POTUS should take spending cuts. I think they are not doing the job the American people expect them to do. Therefore I declare that the president and congress should take deep spending cuts along with all the other entitlement programs they intend to cut. Remember congress is the opposite of progress.

One always finds that the people calling for less education are the ones in direst need for more of it.

The call was not for less education. The call was for less federal education money. Those who have been educated can see the difference.

Actually, you open a very troublesome can of worms. Just a few weeks ago it was in the news that DoD was having far too many potential recruits showing up unfit (physically) for training into the military. If we have already cut education to the point that “physical education”, either formal or in the guise of high school sports programs, is no longer insuring that there is a pool of reasonably fit young people, able to at least stand the rigors of boot camp, what will happen when DoD needs to recruit young people to operate all of the ever more elaborate weapons systems and the kids cant read or do basic math? In the long run, is not the education system a very important part, and I would contend, vital part, of our national defense?

So which programs are going to crushed?

Whichever “trigger” gets pulled let us all hope that the weapon is not a 1. Accidental discharge, 2. A self-inflicted wound, or 3. A “Mis-fire.” And God, in whatever capacity we understand this idea, help us all if it is simply a “Suicide Attempt.”

AM General got a contract last week for 800+ HMMWVs. I don’t think production has been stopped.

If DoD does take a big hit, it will have been a long time in coming. The costs of everything have sky rocketed while the quality and reliability has plummeted. Senior Execs (SES) get the same bonuses if they have a great program or a complete failure.
Failure is a lot easier and great programs take hard work and experience.

We have come to the situation where we just find somebody to blame because accountability in all aspects of our new American way of life has just gone away. Until we hold ourselves accountable and our leaders in DoD (including contractors) accountable we can expect the taxpayers to do nothing else but demand the funding for DoD get the axe.

As was stated earlier, education is NOT, by our constitution, a federal program, but a state program. The Federal Government just figured it could get more money if it had a Dept of Ed.

As for Defense budget cuts, when DoD has to lay off thousands of civilian workers because they don’t have the money to pay them, these same workers will go on unemployement and draw money from another federal pot. We would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

It is simple, If you don’t work, but are able, you don’t get any money. If you are a congressman getting money for special projects not needed in your state, you don’t get them.

I already am not getting a cost of living raise for the next three years. I don’t make as much as my private sector conterpart. leave my money alone!

Thats right,to hell with the States,after all will be GI Joes forever,and when we ETS,or retire,will still have the option to live in Afghanistan,Irak,Libya or any other 3world country,by then the States might be near the same of those mentioned above,I forgot to mention THE FEDS have a I OWE YOU note on behalf o CHINA.But is more important to keep fighting Shaddows of Brown and tryng to change Milleneries cultures(Irak ‚Afghan)withing a few more years.


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