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Interesting article in today’s Washington-Post. The newest target of the minority party in the House and Senate are the ” bloated” salaries and benefits of federal workers.  Of course there is a great deal of hypocrisy  in the minority parties putting federal workers in their crosshairs–while saying they want to slash the size of the federal work force and reduce salaries they make no mention of downsizing the size of congressional staffs and reducing their own salaries.  Great quote, from former Representative Tom Davis, one of the few baby boomers who is really an adult on the whole matter:

“Many conservatives have latched onto civilian pay because they want to eliminate some of government’s everyday functions. “When the budget’s balanced and government is working, you can’t pay federal workers enough,” said Thomas M. Davis III, a former Republican congressman from Northern Virginia who chaired the committee that oversees federal workers. He noted that many bureaucrats “are running billion-dollar programs” and should be paid what they’re worth.”If we are serious about tackling the budget deficit only applying the budget knife to non National Security discretionary spending is not going to make a huge difference.  The fiscal year 2011 presidential budget, items related to National Security made up over 40% of discretionary spending.  Real deficit reduction can only occur if National Security spending is also reduced.

Secretary of Defense Gates clearly understands this, and has directed the Department of Defense to find efficiencies and savings in operations.  Will he be successful.  In the short run, yes; the question is whether we can overcome the culture of gold plated weapons systems that take years to develop and then do not perform as advertised.

To be continued.

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