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Cuts = Growth?

There sure is an eye-catching headline on the front page of today’s New York Times: “Pentagon Faces Growing Pressure to Trim Budget”

Yes! We’re finally making real progress toward trimming the defense budget! The crack team at the NYT report that, in the face of calls for deficit reduction, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is seeking to trim Pentagon spending. And the administration is even in the mix, with a great quote from Erskine Bowels, Co-Chair of President Obama’s budget commission, who says that “we’re going to have to take a hard look at defense if we are going to be serious about deficit reduction.”

But then we learn what Secretary Gates is actually proposing:

“Mr. Gates is calling for the Pentagon’s budget to keep growing in the long run at 1 percent a year after inflation, plus the costs of the war.”

So… just to clarify… The roughly $750 billion annual defense budget will continue to grow in real terms. The unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have allready raked up a $1 trillion+ tab  — that’s $1,000,000,000,000 — will continue to get all the money they need. And that’s a “trim.”

Read the full NYT story here.


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