Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com
As Barack Obama surrounds himself with smiling teachers grateful he talked vacationing Congressmen into squeezing taxpayers for another multi-billion dollar bailout, Americans should envision another scene: the U.S. soldiers who are paying the price for Obama’s economic agenda.
Last night, on the eve of today’s vote, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a new set of “reforms” to the defense budget that “will ensure that our nation is…more fiscally responsible.” (Insert laugh track.) Gates said he will close the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, cut “50 generals and admirals and 150 top civilians over the next two years,” and eliminate approximately one-third of current spending on civilian contractors. The secretary admitted a “substantial number” of the 2,800 military and civilian positions will be liquidated, guessing the loss will save $240 million.
Welcome to the Obama recovery.
While the bailouts proceed apace, next year’s defense budget barely holds pace with inflation. Obama admitted in Washingtonese that he targeted the DoD for reduction, saying his drive to “cut waste and inefficiencies that squander the people’s hard-earned money” is “particularly important when it comes to our national defense.”
The plan will also pare down pay for military officers who act as “mentors” to others.
The nation’s fighting men and women seem to be the only ones tightening their belts in D.C. The New York Times reports today, “The Labor Department has hired 250 new wage-and-hour investigators” to harass hospitals and nursing homes suspected of not paying employees overtime. The move represents “a staff increase of one-third.”
Last week, Obama hiked the salaries of two million federal employees.
Yesterday, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac asked Treasury for a combined $3.3 billion, bringing their total bailout to more than $150 billion. And today, Obama announced he’s spending $600 million to prevent foreclosures in five states. Reuters news service notes, “the average homeowner will benefit by about $10,000 over the life of the program, which ends two months after President Barack Obama next faces voters in 2012.” Among those benefiting from the election-year boon is the bellwether state of Ohio.
Conversely, most of Gates’ announced military cuts are located in southern Virginia, the most reliably Republican part of the state currently run by Bob McDonnell. Obama has a history of strategically eliminating Republican jobs.
And of subordinating national defense to his own agenda. The New York Times reported that last summer when Gen. Stanley McChrystal wrote Obama that he needed 40,000 troops or we risked failure in Afghanistan, “The president seemed in sticker shock, watching his domestic agenda vanishing in front of him.”
Barack Obama’s selective bailouts and cuts prove the president still sees the military as his personal piggy bank for socialism.