pentagon

Obama Budget Cuts Social Security By $200 Billion, But Gives The Pentagon Twice That Much

President Obama has proposed enacting chained CPI, which would reduce spending on Social Security benefits by $200 billion over the next ten years. This has provoked outrage from progressive groups, and from groups representing seniors and veterans (whose benefits are also impacted by this change).

But something that has gotten less attention is the fact that President Obama's budget also gives twice this much money -- $400 billion -- to the Pentagon over the next decade, by reducing sequester cuts down to $100 billion rather than $500 billion over the next ten years.

That means that Obama is essentially cutting Social Security's budget by $200 billion while giving twice that much money to the Pentagon. Last night, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean tweeted that this sort of deal is enough for him to become an independent.

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

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Poll: Most Americans Want To Protect Social Security From Cuts, Want Pentagon Cut Instead

With the budget sequester looming, some lawmakers are compiling alternative to the across-the-board cuts, and some conservatives want to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of a deal.

A new poll out today from The Hill finds that this would put them out of step with the American public and even with self-identified Republicans.

In the poll, 62 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats opposed cutting Social Security and Medicare, while 49 percent of overall respondents said they favored cutting back on defense spending. Even among Republicans, 56 percent said they would oppose defense cuts while a larger 62 percent said they would oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Click here to pledge to hold any Democrat who agrees to a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits accountable.

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Panetta Asks For Cut In Military Pay, Salary Increase Would Be Lowest In 50 Years

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week announced that he is recommending Congress limit military pay increases to 1 percent in 2014. In comparison, the pay increase in 2013 was 1.7 percent.

To put this in perspective, this is the smallest pay increase since 1962, when there was no pay increase. Despite the country's involvement in protracted wars, pay increases for men and women in uniform have continued to decline. In 1978, when the country wasn't even at war, the military's pay increased by 6.2 percent.

The U.S. spends more on its military than almost the rest of the world combined, and the budget is rife with waste. But there is no evidence that the meager salaries of most members of the armed services is a major contributor to this waste. Polling shows that while Americans favor reducing waste in the Pentagon budget, they oppose major reductions in military pay.

Chuck Hagel In 2011: Pentagon Budget Is 'Bloated,' It Must Be 'Pared Down'

This morning, President Obama announced that he will be picking former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his nominee for Secretary of Defense.

There are many different issues that Hagel will face during his confirmation hearings, and progressives can be expected to question him on his past conservative opposition to gay rights.

Here's one area where he's more progressive. In a 2011 interview with the Financial Times, he said that the budget is "in many ways bloated" and said that it must be "pared down."

"War costs money and Hagel understands that. Many believe Hagel wants to dramatically reduce the Department of Defense budget," writes defense analyst and veteran Kerry Patton. "How many critics realize how much fraud, waste, and abuse rests within the DOD? Any level-headed individual can go into any government office and find wasteful spending. There is no better time than now to take a close look at wasteful spending and start making cuts."

This would put Hagel to the left of the current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who resisted major defense cuts.

 

President Obama Offered More Cuts To Social Security Benefits Than To The Pentagon

There are now multiple press reports that President Obama will agree to a fiscal deal that enacts a so-called “Chained CPI” to calculate Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Under this plan, beneficiaries would get cuts in their cost of living adjustments. Outraged Congressional Democrats have been speaking out for days against these cuts.

The cuts to Social Security benefits under such a recalculation would amount to about $112 billion over ten years.

Let's put this in perspective. In the offer Obama gave to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), he also put $100 billion of Pentagon spending cuts on the table for the same period.

That means that Obama offered to cut a program that doesn't add a penny to the deficit -- Social Security -- by more than the single largest drain on discretionary spending, the Pentagon.

We did polling in the swing states of New Hampshire and Virginia and found that voters overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security benefits while they support cutting defense spending.

Obama should listen to the people.

We set up an ActBlue page to highlight and reward bold progressive members of Congress who are speaking out publicly against Social Security benefit cuts. Check them out and donate $3 to them here.

Click here to pledge to hold any Democrat who agrees to a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits accountable.

Click here to call your Member of Congress and demand that they oppose this bad deal.

Our Wasteful 'Military' Budget: The Pentagon Spent $1.5 Million Developing Roll Up-Beef Jerky

Right-wing politicians and their corporate lobbyist backers want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of an upcoming "Grand Bargain." Their goal is to cut social spending and investments in middle class America to pay for corporate tax cuts and more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

But it's impossible to talk about the budget deficit without talking about the military budget. It has the largest share of discretionary spending, and we spend more on our military than almost the rest of the world combined.

Even Senator Tom Coburn -- a hard-right Republican from Oklahoma -- knows that much of this Pentagon spending is wasteful and completely unrelated to our modern security needs. He released a report a few days ago that laid out some of this wasteful spending. Here are a few highlights, from the Washington Times:

• $300,000 spent by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to fund Brown University's research into archaeopteryx, the 150-million-year-old early bird, in which the researchers determined the creature likely had black feathers.

• An Office of Naval Research research project that helped spawn Caffeine Zone 2, an iPhone application that tells people how to schedule their coffee breaks.

• $1.5 million to develop a special new roll-up beef jerky, which Mr. Coburn said was funded by taking money out of a weapons program.

• $100,000 for a 2011 workshop on interstellar space travel that included a session entitled "Did Jesus die for Klingons too?" The session probed how Christian theology would apply in the event of the discovery of aliens.

We can't talk about the budget deficit without looking at the wasteful Pentagon budget.

 

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