Saturday, July 16, 2011

Note from the AFA President: Debt ceiling, Hero

AFA members, Congressional staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, 

As most of you know, the nation's capital is embroiled in a debt ceiling debate.  It is an important one, given the annual deficit and those projected for the next 10 years ($1T/ per year).  It takes a strong economy to provide the funds for a strong military and a strong national defense.  I have noted to you in the past that the Preamble to the Constitution says:  " ... provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare ..." and those two verbs seem to be mixed up today. 

One line I hear on the Hill is that the debt ceiling does not have to be raised as the government still has revenues coming in.  I think a look at the numbers might be beneficial.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, the government will receive $172B in revenues between Aug 3 and Aug 31.  If it chose to cover the rest of the month, it could pay for:  Interest on the debt [$29B], Social Security benefits [$49B], Medicaid and Medicare [$50B], active duty military pay [$2.9B], DOD vendors (not sure what's in this one) [$31.7B], IRS refunds [$3.9B], and about a quarter of the $12.8B in unemployment checks due that month.  However, there would be no cash for highway construction, federal workers or retirees, no agriculture payments, no open national parks, etc., etc.

My point in giving you the numbers is to let you know how much we will be spending in August -- $134B over what we collect.  Clearly this cannot go on for much longer.  The consequences would be dire.

Secondly, I will continue highlighting those heroes in the Air Force who continue to fight for our security.  The person I want to highlight today is Staff Sergeant David Flowers, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician.  You can find his story at:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association


Anonymous said...



T.A. Mangino said...

Hence the need to INCREASE REVENUE as well as DECREASE SPENDING. I truly believe that legislation needs to be passed to fix the tax code, remove subsidies, close the loopholes so that EVERYONE and EVERYTHING (i.e. CORPORATIONS) pays; in addition longer lifespans dictate the need for changes to MEDICARE and SOCIAL SECURITY! The vitriolic rhetoric and class warfare (rich vs poor, government/public worker wages versus private worker wages) has to STOP. I'm a GOVERNMENT employee (E-7/MSgt/USAF) with 24 years of service and I'm willing to COMPROMISE.

Retired Officer said...

At the top of the list of unfunded items should be the pay and benefits of EVERYONE in the entire Executive and Legislative branches of our government.

John Schwendler said...

I understand the need for a strong national defense. I do not understand attacking people who never bothered us. I do not understand why we are in Afghanistan. I do not understand why we are in Iraq. I do not understand why we are in N.Africa. I do not understand why we are stuck in S. Korea for nearly 60 years. I do not understand why we have a new bomber in inventory yet keep flying the ancient B-52. I do not understand why we are building the next generation fighter, when we can take out our opponents with unmanned vehicles with laser guided weapons. Maybe if the DoD would rein in its appetite for the next decade, and maybe if generals would stop writing books, and maybe if politicians stop sending us to war for no reason, we could re-build our country, and actually have an unharmed generation to occupy and enjoy it.
John Schwendler,
TSgt, USAF, Ret
Life Member

Anonymous said...

Every one of these math exercises seems to use different numbers and names for the groups of payouts and how much will be available. There is no reason that money not spent from the TARP and stimulous program can not be used. Also unactivated projects can be deferred and welfare cut back to it's 1 yr limits. By the way a new budget is due 1 Oct how about taking the budget from 2007 and applying the government inflation percentage used for military retiree COLA for the year 2008 to 2011 and use that as the new budget. Departs get what they got before Pelosi.

Edward said...

Thuis does not work 5 x I have tried. Raise taxes to cover shortfall. Our taxes are the lowest in the 1st world Now.

Edward said...

Raise taxes

xaxnar said...

The debt ceiling game of chicken is a farce so long as revenues are "off the table." Tax rates for the rich and corporations have never been lower; simply ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country would take care of the deficit.

Our national security depends on a stable and secure middle class. The economic policies of the last 40 years have been a disaster, killing jobs, cutting wages & benefits, and forcing the middle class into debt just to keep afloat. The economy grew over that same time frame, but none of that money stuck to the middle class.

Balancing the budget on the backs of the old, the young, the sick is not just wrong - it's a betrayal of the American dream. It's not how we won World War II or the Cold War. We did not cut our way to victory.

Jason Armstrong said...

Great piece Gen. Dunn.

I read that WSJ editorial the other day and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed and also the need to cut spending back to a more manageable 18-20% GDP range.

I humbly offer a word of measured caution when relying on the distinction between the word PROVIDE and PROMOTE in the preamble as a means to counter the calls of those who call for further growth in social welfare spending for they will undoubtedly point to Article I, section 8 which states, "The Congress shall have Power To lay, collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts, and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." In this case PROVIDE refers to both Defense and General Welfare.

I bring this up not because I'm interested in more or sustained spending on General Welfare or higher taxes to pay for this spending, I'm not, but for the benefit that you are on guard for this rebuttal and can plan for an appropriate response.

Thank you for your support of the Air Force.

Jason Armstrong.

Anonymous said...

We have been here before (after WWII)and we worked our way out of the deficit. The difference now is that a well intentioned group called the Tea Party, who are actually anarchists, willing to severely wound our government to make an ideological point. Our adversaries around the world are hoping we fail. And some in the Administration's opposition party support that position, buy doing every thing in their power to make sure our Commander-in-Chief fails. Until we and our policians see ourselves as AMERICANS first and support our leadership we will continue to decline as a world power,

Anonymous said...

It is about time all of the Bush tax cuts should be reversed. This includes both the rich and the poor and the tax code needs to be changed to fixed rates with no exemptions for anything.

D Cumming said...

I think the veterans retirement pay and armed forces pay rights should all be pritected in cluding social security. If the congress and the senate want to fight over the bills we should with nhold there pay and bennifits allso