As sequestration cuts sink in, the consensus seems to be that they are causing little pain, even though they have resulted in cuts for programs in Montgomery County such as housing assistance and senior lunch programs, as well as layoffs and furloughs for government workers and contractors. This comes after years of budget cuts necessitated by economic recession.
None of this pain would have been necessary if Congress had the courage to cut wasteful spending that has drawn the criticism of both liberals and conservatives, but there has been no action by either side. Military spending is bloated by pork and waste that primarily benefit a wealthy few without improving national security at all.
Publications as diverse as Businessweek and the American Conservative have listed areas of military waste that could be cut. Weapons manufacturing is rife with corruption and overspending.
Fighter planes don’t need to cost $200 million to $300 million apiece. They do because contracts are awarded to companies in districts with influential congressmen, based on political expediency not efficiency or comparative advantage.
Other Defense Department programs have nothing to do with defense at all: a $100,000 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency strategy planning workshop including a session titled “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” that entailed a panel debating the implications for Christian philosophy should life be found on other planets; a DOD and Department of Agriculture co-produced reality cooking show called “Grill It Safe”; and DOD-run microbreweries.
The needs of Montgomery County citizens are being sacrificed because Congress doesn’t have the willpower to cut the most bloated and unnecessary programs that both parties have criticized as wasteful.
Tim Willard, Kensington