How the ox is gored...
Over the last several years some representatives in the U.S. House have risked default of the federal government, imposed heedless mandatory budget reductions and held up benefits to needy Americans in furtherance of their belief that the federal government spends too much money.
Last week there were those who demonstrated that the issue isn't rooted in principle but, as always, in who's ox is being gored.
The House passed a whopping $601 billion basic defense budget that not only rejects the Pentagon's own priorities but seriously diminishes the Department of Defense's ability to affect savings in the future.
Legislators played the age-old game of railing against government waste while protecting every federal nickel flowing into their own districts. They shot down the Air Force's plan to retire its fleet of A-10 ground attack aircraft - not because the politicians are better judges than generals of what actually is needed in combat, but because A-10 squadrons are located in the districts of key legislators.
Similarly, the House insisted on spending more for ships that the Navy doesn't want because those ships are built in districts represented by well-placed legislators, with components manufactured in scores of other congressional districts, and will be based in still others.
And, the bill includes a prohibition against the Pentagon's request for a new round of domestic base closings and consolidations.
So the House will continue to press for a smaller federal budget, at least to a degree that doesn't require members to suffer any political consequences in their own districts.