Friday, March 10, 2017

The Latest Bit of Insanity

I don't normally talk about politics on this blog but lately I've been given too much fodder.  President Trump wants to increase the defense budget by $54 billion which just happens to be roughly 10%.  He also wants to build a wall along the Mexican border.  The lowest estimate I've see for that was $20 billion.  And I'm pretty sure that is only the cost to build the wall.  It probably doesn't include the cost to man or maintain it.  If I remember correctly, I did a cocktail napkin thought exercise on that cost at one time.

Since they don't want to raise taxes .  In fact, I've heard that they want to lower taxes.  That money is going to have to come from somewhere.  Several places have been targeted for that money.  They want to cut funding for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment of the Arts and probably many other places.  I would love to talk about those things but I only have one blog and I'm only one person.
 Anyway, one place that I did hear was the Coast Guard.  And that was to the tune of $1.5 billion.  Which interestingly enough is roughly 10% of it's budget.  I seriously hope this is coming from a place of ignorance because I can't imagine consciously cutting the Coast Guard budget.  Especially by that much.
 The Coast Guard wears many hats within the Government.  It's main mission is to perform search and rescue missions.  It is also used to maintain the aids to navigation on the nation's waterways.  During the winter, it is tasked to keep the major waterways free of ice.  Well at least free enough.  The Coast Guard is also used for harbor defense.  It is used in drug interdiction.  And it probably is also used for border security.  At least for people that try to come here by water.
 Like the other groups in the Department of Homeland Security, it has been asked to do quite abit since 9/11.  And given the President's propensity to stay at Mar-A-Lago rather than the White House, it has had to task resources to protect him there.  And this is the thanks they get?
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I am a fan of the Coast Guard.  They do alot to protect this country.  And I don't understand why someone would want to cut their budget given his objectives in other areas.
 Meanwhile, he wants to increase the Defense budget by 10%.  As you also know, I'm a fan of our military but I also think that if there was one group in Washington that could use some belt tightening it's them.  I mean you look at the list of recent defense projects and I can't think of one that hasn't gone past schedule or ran over budget.  Where is the accountibility for that?  I mean, we have our President saying that our military is depleted.  Has anyone asked why, given that we spend more than the next 6 or 7 countries combined.  If we can't protect ourselves with that kind of money, something is majorly wrong.
So what does a $1.5 billion cut mean?  Well, from what I understand, the Coast Guard is going to lose the next National Security Cutter.  I'm going to guess that it also means they are not going to get a new icebreaker.  Never mind that the world's largest maritime nation only has 1 large icebreaker and one medium icebreaker for the Arctic.  Given that more nations are challenging the Arctic, we need more of a presence up there.
It probably means that the Coast Guard will be asked to do the same with even less.   I suspect that this cut wont see the light of day but it never should have even been proposed in the first place.

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