Pentagon

While Obama Cuts The Military In Virginia, Raises Taxes On Everyone, Why Not A Fat BRAC?

Nothing unites Republicans and Democrats faster than a pair of magnets than military base closures in their states. Last week was no different when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would close (see Army Times) the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk as part of a pare down in defense spending. On cue, a bipartisan group of Virginia's Congressional delegation, including both senators, rushed to JFCOM's defense (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). At risk is as many as 6,000 jobs in Virginia. (The conspiracy theory is that Virginia is being targeted by the Obama administration for its aggressive legal challenges to the health care law and the unilateral cap and trade policy implemented by the EPA.)  Secretary Gates has the unenviable task of convincing Congress (other states will face cuts as well) — during a recession his boss has exacerbated, if not created — that the Defense Department's mission is to protect the country and not create jobs. He may well be right, but while JFCOM may or may not be needed, while he's cutting fat out of the military, why isn't his boss cutting fat everywhere else

Several years ago, Congress created the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to target base closings to save money and submit those recommendations to Congress for an up or down vote, because the normal appropriation process presented a more formidable barrier than the Great Wall of China. Congressmen would trade votes to protect bases in each others' districts, regardless of the merits. Political cowardice aside, it still amazes me that Washington insiders are willing to cut the military to save a few billion dollars out of a nearly $3.5 trillion budget, of which $1.5 trillion is borrowed money, while not cutting anything nearly as important

If Congress can pass the buck to a commission to cut the fat out of the Pentagon, then why not create a commission to cut the fat out of non-defense spending? Call it the Fat BRAC. There are numerous reports by think tanks and watch dog groups, as well as individual congressmen, of deplorable spending (see McCain-Coburn Report). A commission easily could mold these findings into a package of cuts for an up or down vote.

While the Obama administration wants to raise taxes on almost everyone in the middle class and up by letting the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions expire, to generate $700 billion over several years (assuming the tax increase doesn't jack up the unemployment rate above 10 percent), it increased spending more than one trillion dollars in one year — $787 billion in one fell swoop with the so-called stimulus bill (more when you factor in interest on the additional debt it created.) That's arrogance and irresponsibility of the highest order. The waste in that bill (and other bills) is of deplorable and unprecedented proportions.

There is something you can do, however. As we mentioned in this post, House Republicans started YouCut, a chance to tell Congress what programs you want to see it eliminate. Each week House Republicans post a list of programs citizens want cut. The GOP Conference brings to the floor the one with the most votes. Hundreds of thousands of people vote each week. We have a permanent link to YouCut on the lower right side of this site. We encourage you to take an active role in this and make your voice heard. Then think about writing your representative and Virginia's two senators, and tell them you want a BRAC for Big Fat Federal Spending.

Virginia News Stand: April 26, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations 100 Day Review

Much of the state news today is about the "first 100 days" and how the new Gov did during them. He even grades himself in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed yesterday. Also in News, if you didn't see it in a previous post, is an interview with Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb on Richmond's WTVR-TV/CBS6 about the General Assembly's approval of the landmark budget amendment restricting taxpayer funded elective abortions.

In National News, President Obama pays a visit to Pastor Billy Graham even as his Pentagon revokes an invitation to his son Franklin Graham to speak at a National Day of Prayer event there. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin raises money behind enemy lines, but the wind may have already dissipated from the GOP's sails in Massachusetts. In Analysis and Commentary, Michael Barone examines the VAT, Paul A. Ibbetson looks at Barack Obama as King George III, and Debra Saunders details the extreme left-wing views of judicial nominee Goodwin Liu who, during his confirmation hearing, attempted to pull an Obama — What me? An extremist? Oh, my past, that little thing. He's young and a minority and the parallels are remarkable.

News

*Abortion amendment passes (Video 2:36) (CBS6/WTVR.com)

Mixed reviews for McDonnell’s first 100 days (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell's first 100 days: Trip-ups, but more triumphs (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell reflects on early days in office (Roanoke Times)

Secretary chases goals of governor (Roanoke Times)

Summing up the state budget: what amendments mean (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell urges respect for civil liberties in enforcement of immigration laws (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Family Research Council and Republican Liberty Caucus endorse in the 5th (BearingDrift.com)

National News

Climate bill placed on hold over Senate dispute (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Shelby: No deal on financial overhaul before vote (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health care law's unfinished business: cost curbs (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama visits Pastor Billy Graham (AP/GOPUSA.com

Palin raises money for GOP in liberal Oregon town (AP/GOPUSA.com

Despite Kennedy loss, Coakley has no GOP opponent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Hold the VAT (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Significant Accomplishments in 100 Days (Bob McDonnell/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Defining the Political Divide (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

Barack Obama: Another Grasp at the Crown? (Paul A. Ibbetson/GOPUSA.com)

My Last Goodwin Liu Column — I Really Hope (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Philip Dru Obama (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)