Archive for the ‘funding’ Category

Change: Obama Promised More Health Care Funding; But We Need Less

January 12, 2009

Will Obama be so bold? In the campaign, he proposed more, not less, health spending. It’s easier to embrace the rhetoric of change than change itself.

By Robert J.  Samuelson
The Washington Post

Barack Obama talked somberly last week about getting the federal budget under control once the present economic crisis has passed. To do that, he’ll have to confront the rapid growth of health spending, which in 2007 was already a quarter of total federal spending of $2.7 trillion. If Obama is serious, he should read a fascinating study from the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the famed consulting company.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conten
t/article/2009/01/11/AR2009011101895.htm
l?hpid=opinionsbox1

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How To Pay For 21st Century Military

December 21, 2008

In recent weeks, this page has called for major changes in America’s armed forces: more ground forces, less reliance on the Reserves, new equipment and training to replace cold-war weapons systems and doctrines.

New York Times Editorial
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Money will have to be found to pay for all of this, and the Pentagon can no longer be handed a blank check, as happened throughout the Bush years.

Since 2001, basic defense spending has risen by 40 percent in real post-inflation dollars. That is not counting the huge supplemental budgets passed — with little serious review or debate — each year to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such unquestioned largess has shielded the Pentagon from any real pressure to cut unneeded weapons systems and other wasteful expenses.

As a result, there is plenty of fat in the defense budget. Here is what we think can be cut back or canceled in order to pay for new equipment and other reforms that are truly essential to keep this country safe:

End production of the Air Force’s F-22. The F-22 was designed to ensure victory in air-to-air dogfights with the kind of futuristic fighters that the Soviet Union did not last long enough to build. The Air Force should instead rely on its version of the new high-performance F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which comes into production in 2012 and like the F-22 uses stealth technology to elude enemy radar.


F-22

Until then, it can use upgraded versions of the F-16, which can outperform anything now flown by any potential foe. The F-35 will provide a still larger margin of superiority. The net annual savings: about $3 billion.

Cancel the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer. This is a stealthy blue water combat ship designed to fight the kind of midocean battles no other nation is preparing to wage. The Navy can rely on the existing DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyer, a powerful, well-armed ship that incorporates the advanced Aegis combat system for tracking and destroying multiple air, ship and submarine targets. The Navy has sharply cut back the number of Zumwalts on order from 32 to two.


Zumwalt destroyer

Cutting the last two could save more than $3 billion a year that should be used to buy more of the littoral combat ships that are really needed. Those ships can move quickly in shallow offshore waters and provide helicopter and other close-in support for far more likely ground combat operations.

Halt production of the Virginia class sub. Ten of these unneeded attack submarines — modeled on the cold-war-era Seawolf, whose mission was to counter Soviet attack and nuclear launch submarines — have already been built. The program is little more than a public works project to keep the Newport News, Va., and Groton, Conn., naval shipyards in business.

USS Virginia (SSN-774)
USS Virginia

The Navy can extend the operating lives of the existing fleet of Los Angeles class fast-attack nuclear submarines, which can capably perform all needed post-cold-war missions — from launching cruise missiles to countering China’s expanding but technologically inferior submarine fleet. Net savings: $2.5 billion.

Pull the plug on the Marine Corps’s V-22 Osprey. After 25 years of trying, this futuristic and unnecessary vertical takeoff and landing aircraft has yet to prove reliable or safe. The 80 already built are more than enough. Instead of adding 400 more, the Marine Corps should buy more of the proven H-92 and CH-53 helicopters. Net savings: $2 billion to 2.5 billion.

Halt premature deployment of missile defense. The Pentagon wants to spend roughly $9 billion on ballistic missile defense next year. That includes money to deploy additional interceptors in Alaska and build new installations in central Europe. After spending some $150 billion over the past 25 years, the Pentagon has yet to come up with a national missile defense system reliable enough to provide real security. The existing technology can be easily fooled by launching cheap metal decoys along with an incoming warhead.


Israel’s Arrow missile grew from U.S. missile defense program

We do not minimize the danger from ballistic missiles. We agree there should be continued testing and research on more feasible approaches. Since the most likely threat would come from Iran or North Korea, there should be serious discussions with the Russians about a possible joint missile defense program. (We know the system poses no threat to Russia, but it is time to take away the excuse.) A research program would cost about $5 billion annually, for a net savings of nearly $5 billion.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21sun1.html?_r=1

As Budgets, Economy Shrink; Little Money for Mental Illness

December 14, 2008

Sometimes it seems as though all Doreen Tiseo does is care for her 87-year-old father, who has memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease. She supervises him in the shower and gives him reminders, such as “pick up the soap” and “wash your face.” In the morning, she helps him dress and slips a handkerchief into his pocket. At night when he wanders, she tells him, “It’s dark out, time to sleep.”

 

By Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 14, 2008; Page A02

But during the day, she gets a respite to go to her job as her father attends a city-funded program. It offers people with dementia and Alzheimer’s art and music therapy, lunch, physical activities, and guided discussions and socializing — critical, Tiseo says, to keeping her father alert, happy and relatively healthy.

Now, because of a budget crisis, New York City plans to eliminate funding for all 12 of these adult day-care programs at the end of this month, saving $1.2 million before the next fiscal year begins in July. The programs, which receive most of their funding from the city, are facing immediate closure unless they can raise fees dramatically or find new donors — in a climate in which other government agencies, corporations and individuals are also cutting back. Even then, they may be able to remain open only a few days a week.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Tiseo, an office manager and single parent of 51 who also supports her 20-year-old son, a college student. She said she pays $40 a day for her father to attend the program and could not afford $15 an hour for in-home care. “If he was to stay home, he would spend all his time in front of the TV,” she said. “That would probably further the progression of the disease.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/13/AR2008121301773.html?hpid=moreheadlines