First off, CRFB would like to congratulate President Obama and all of those who were elected and re-elected to the Senate and the House. CRFB is looking forward to continue working with policymakers from both sides of the aisle to help make deficit reduction a reality.
Tonight is the last presidential debate with questions focused on foreign policy, but it would be a mistake to forget about debt. Our foreign policy is intertwined with fiscal policy, since it determines what economic power we have and what security capabilities we will possess.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) yesterday released his "Wastebook" for 2012, a laundry list of government waste and inefficiency. Coburn finds 100 examples of government spending clearly not serving its designed purpose.
Wastebook's examples include:
Yesterday the group Taxpayers for Common Sense released a report with over $2 trillion in deficit reduction. The report, "Sliding Past the Sequester," takes up the task of the Super Committee and puts forth a list of cuts to programs or measures that they deem are "inefficient, ineffective, or wasteful," adding up to $800 billion beyond the Super Committee's original requirement.
Yesterday, a group of six senators from both parties signed a letter to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to help replace the sequester with a smart and bipartisan debt reduction plan. The letter, signed by the Senate Armed Services Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) along with Committee members Sens.
Event Recap: "National Security Implications of America's Debt and Bipartisan Plans to Address the Solution"
The second of four Strengthening of America—Our Children's Future forums was held today on national security and the national debt. The event featured two panels, the first discussing the national security threat excessive debt poses, while the second panel presented the possible solutions of Bowles Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin.
Lawmakers, policy experts, and affected industries are righly concerned about the sequester that will hit both defense and non-defense spending across the board on January 2. On the defense side, though, a USA Today editorial expresses concern not for the cuts themselves, but for the across-the-board manner in which they are done. Here's their take:
Over the past few days, the Office of Management and Budget is getting to work preparing for the sequester hitting on January 2 of next year. OMB so far has notified Congress that it intends to exempt military personnel accounts from the defense sequester, an authority that is granted by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Today, CBO has released yearly estimates of the long-term budget projections for the Department of Defense. The DoD provides a plan to Congress called the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), in which DoD lays out its plans and the needed appropriations for the next five years. CBO uses this report to project future defense spending through 2030, using their own assumptions for variables like health care costs and weapons system prices that affect the defense budget.
An article in The Hill warns that war spending may be in jeopardy because of the sequester. Apparently, the Pentagon has reversed its position on the sequester's application to Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) spending, now saying that it would be affected. Previously, it had said that the sequester would exempt spending for the war in Afghanistan.