Monday, December 13, 2010

What budget cuts look like


Via DefenseNews,
Britain may halve its fast-jet fleet by 2020 or so, according to the commanding officer of the Royal Air Force's No. 1 Group.

We are heading for five Typhoon squadrons and one JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] squadron," said Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell, who commands the RAF's air combat group. "It will be a six-squadron world; that's what's on the books."

That could mean 107 Typhoons, plus about 40 F-35C JSFs that support a large operational squadron of 20 to 25 crews, Bagwell said.
...
In 1990, the RAF had 33 fast-jet squadrons; in 2003, 17. Today, the number stands at 12: seven Tornado, three Typhoon and two Harrier squadrons, plus the offensive firepower of a growing fleet of Reaper UAVs.
If you do not think this could happen here, then you are a fool. There are realities in life when you build a huge welfare state built on the fact that people expect the Nanny State to cover them from cradle to grave. The prime reality is that eventually you run out of money. That happens after the people have become addicted to "free" things from the State. Without the right leadership at the right time, it will spend $1.20 for every $1 it gets - regardless of the incoming - until the markets stop it. By then it is too late for a reasonable fix. The only fix is painful and has a whiff of decline.

The State will do everything it can to avoid hard decisions. Unless the wolf is at the door - or even if it is - the easiest place to get it is the defense budget.

We are going this way. WIll it get this bad here? I'll let you know in about 2 years.


Hat tip Lee.

49 comments:

Stu said...

The Carter years are going to look like WWII funding by comparison. 

ewok40k said...

Poland has currently 2 squadrons worth of F-16s, 1 of MiG-29s and 2 of  Su-22s. By 2020 I expect more F-16s to replase Su-22s or even first F-35s. When Poland will have almost as much frontline fighters as RAF, it will be certainly a sight to behold. BTW, what are planned force levels for France and Germany?
US by the same ratio of fighters to population as the UK, would have 900 frontline fighters by 2020. Certainly possible.

xformed said...

Directly related to the Katie-Condi smack down in the previous post.

When the next great defense of the National Seurity comes, "THE PEOPLE" will demand to know why we used the rationale to cut the forces, knowing Iran and NK and Syria and Venezuela all were making WMDs....

Can't blame to people voting themselves the entitlements indirectly, can we, any more than than the criminal is really Manning...all Wikileaks did was publish it....

There is nothing new under the sun and all of this is...well...let's play "Ask Solomon!"

xformed said...

<img></img>

<img></img> <span>xformed</span><span></span><img></img>
<span>Directly related to the Katie-Condi smack down in the previous post.  
 
When the next great defense of the National Security downfall (hey, you could make a parody!) comes, "THE PEOPLE" will demand to know why we used the rationale to cut the forces, knowing Iran and NK and Syria and Venezuela all were making WMDs....  
 
Can't blame to people voting themselves the entitlements indirectly, can we, any more than than the criminal is really Manning...all Wikileaks did was publish it....  
 
There is nothing new under the sun and all of this is...well...let's play "Ask Solomon!"</span>

John said...

Yup, same same definitely coming our way.

Stack up those aircraft numbers (adjusted to whatever we end down with) against 18,000 portable anti-aircraft missiles recently purchased by our nutty neighbor Hugo.  Evenif he only "loses" a few to assorted revolutioaries or narco thugs, it could make life very interesting.  Even with good countermeasures, they are going to get lucky once in a while, and in a war of attrition, those with the most usually win.

Outlaw Mike said...

<span>'WIll it get this bad here?'</span>
<span></span>
<span>Possibly not, for the US, well, the US isn't Europe. I continue to be amazed, flabbergasted really, by the sociological phenomenon that's the Tea Party.</span>
<span></span>
<span>It's IMPOSSIBLE here. Such a mass movement concerned about the state behaving like a good dad is im-pos-sib-le here.</span>

LifeoftheMind said...

Large military units, like capital ships and aircraft squadrons, operate under a Rule of Three. One is deployed. One is in predeployment training. One is in refit. The unit in training can surge rapidly but the unit in refit, reorganization and repair takes weeks at best to be combat ready. That is why in a world where the minimum number of combat ready aircraft carriers needed by the US Navy is 5, two by the Persian Gulf, two in North East Asia and one in the Mediterranean, we should not let the number of active duty carriers fall below 15. By cutting the number of squadrons the UK is guaranteeing that a future conflict will start when their sole JSF squadron is off line.

Surfcaster said...

I really hope so.

But unfortunately many cities of become increasely bastions of dependence while coming closer to bakruptcy. Sometime sooner or later the bill collector's going to come to collect.

Surfcaster said...

<span>I really hope so.  
 
But unfortunately many cities have become increasingly bastions of dependence while coming closer to bakruptcy. Sometime sooner or later the bill collector's going to come to collect.</span>

LifeoftheMind said...

Will individual components be able to fight? Yes but that is not the same as having a trained combat ready organization that functions as a team. For a navy a task force is the smallest coherent unit capable of deploying and conducting a combat mission. In naval parlance there is a distinction between operational units, Task Element, Task Force and Task Group, and administrative components, Ships, Squadrons, and Type Groups. Combat effectiveness is greatly improved by minimizing the distinction between the administrative command that trains and the operational command that fights. At the level of the ship they are identical. In building complex structures, like a Task Force, elements such as a destroyer or a submarine or an aircraft may be assigned. If they can be held together in a larger unit, a whole DESRON or aircraft squadron then combat effectiveness will improve. Otherwise they will be, even if technically proficient, in the same role as replacements, who always suffer higher loses and achieve less than long term members of a team.

In aviation the smallest coherent unit that can function independently in both administrative and operational roles is the Squadron. By reducing the RAF to 6 combat squadrons, with only one JSF squadron planned, the ability to respond in a crisis will be reduced below the minimal level needed to deter threats. No matter how capable each aircraft and pilot is they will lack the flexibility to respond where three fully operational squadrons, one always alert ready as a unit, can.

ewok40k said...

Tea party only concern is their own pockets - they will willingly see the cuts in taxes financed by borrowing even more money from China.They want all the bonuses of welfare state without having to pay for them.
US is like dumb girl on a credit card spending spree. I wonder what will happen when the cards get cancelled.

LifeoftheMind said...

Will individual components be able to fight? Yes but that is not the same as having a trained combat ready organization that functions as a team. For a navy a task force is the smallest coherent unit capable of deploying and conducting a combat mission. In naval parlance there is a distinction between operational units, Task Element, Task Force and Task Group, and administrative components, Ships, Squadrons, and Type Groups. Combat effectiveness is greatly improved by minimizing the distinction between the administrative command that trains and the operational command that fights. At the level of the ship they are identical. In building complex structures, like a Task Force, elements such as a destroyer or a submarine or an aircraft may be assigned. If they can be held together in a larger unit, a whole DESRON or aircraft squadron then combat effectiveness will improve. Otherwise they will be, even if technically proficient, in the same role as replacements, who always suffer higher loses and achieve less than long term members of a team.

In aviation the smallest coherent unit that can function independently in both administrative and operational roles is the Squadron. By reducing the RAF to 6 combat squadrons, with only one JSF squadron planned, the ability to respond in a crisis will be reduced below the minimal level needed to deter threats. No matter how capable each aircraft and pilot is they will lack the flexibility to respond where three fully operational squadrons, one always alert ready as a unit, can.

Mike M. said...

One thing to remember...we're running a welfare state with an income tax.  Which means we either run massive deficits or big surpluses.  The financial situation will improve, and when it does, it will turn around big.

So don't give up the ship.

Anonymous said...

It might do the US some good to get out of the nation building business.

John said...

From what I have seen of Tea Party people, they oppose wasteful government spending, and high taxes that support it, but are strong supporters of national defense as one of the few legitimate duties of the federal government, and are willing to pay for that.

Southern Air Pirate said...

Not only a Federal Income Tax, but also a Captial Gains Tax, Estate Tax, various duty taxes on exports and imports, a corporation income tax, various gift taxes, and varous corporation taxes.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>Tea party only concern is their own pockets"</span>

Bullsh*t.  Absolute ignorant bullsh*t.  It is about individual rights and freedoms and limiting the power of government to that given it by the Constitution.  You of all people should understand what evils a government-enforced compliance with programs "for the people's own good" will unerringly do. 

The forced redistribution of the wealth from the earners to the drains of this society has already made large inroads into destroying initiative and incentive.  Government regulation, seemingly designed for just that purpose, is stifling what's left. 

A single man in 2009 making $200,000 in taxable income paid over $51,000 in Federal Income Tax.  Five men making $40,000 each in taxable income filing singly paid between them barely $25,000, about $5,100 each, on that same $200,000.  So please, save the talk of cutting taxes as if it is somehow a plot by the "rich" not to pay their fair share.  They pay more, and get less for their money, both in total and in proportion. 

The US isn't like a dumb girl.  The US is being run by people who think the economic and political system that plunged eastern Europe into decades of oppression is the fairest model, for "the people".  As long as they can be the ones who get to decide what is fair.  People like Skippy and Jay.

Steeljaw said...

Ultimately what it means is this -- the total numbers will have cossed a threshold that, absent the moon, sun and stars all aligning perfectly, there will be no desire to "risk" so few "assetts" because a loss of as small as 5% of the total force will virtually render it inefective.   The default position will be to hold and situations that may have been terminated or addressed at lower orders of commitment will then require commitment ofthe entire force, in an extremely high stakes measure -- or capitulation, in which case the utility of the force, such as it is, is rendered moot.
Game. Set. Match.
And it's not like we haven't been there before...
w/r, SJS

UltimaRatioRegis said...

And, ewok, if you don't believe my words, watch the great strains that anti-gun rights people are making, including this government's BATFE, to erode the rights of this nation's citizens under the Second Amendment. 

"U.S. firearms agents estimate that around 80 percent of the weapons used by Mexican drug traffickers come from the United States, where cartel leaders are hiring Americans with clean records to make the purchases for them. In the past four years, Mexican authorities say they have seized 90,000 weapons from their nation's drug war."

Still, more than a year after Hillary Clinton (a rabid anti-gun rights activist) perpetrated this deliberate falsehood, we see it still circulating in the news as if it is a fresh and credible story.  Truth is, most of the guns that the Mexicans can <span>trace</span> are bought in the US, but they are able only to trace about 1 in 6.  Why?  The rest, which represent the vast majority (and virtually all the automatic weapons), are from foreign arms dealers.  But what is the proposed solution?  Tougher gun laws agains law-abiding US citizens, of course.

Jay said...

I got a shout out, Woot!

Jay said...

Except that...anti-gun laws have been overturned. The NRA has been extraordinarily successful in both the Congress (both sides of the aisle) and the Courts. Yawn...what silly blather...

andrewdb said...

Remember planning for 2.5 wars?  how about Iraq (today we can call that 0.5), AFG, and NorK = 2.5 by my count.  We are so screwed.

andrewdb said...

and excise taxes on LOTS of stuff - gasoline, arrows (you did know there is a Federal tax on every arrow if you shoot archery?)

Southern Air Pirate said...

Except planning for 2.5 that was planned for during the 1995 Bottom-Up Review went out the door during the Rumsfield QDR in the first portion of the 2000's.

andrewdb said...

Yes, that's why we're screwed.

DM05 said...

The downward trajectory will continue, given the fiscal constraints and political realities. Look at the platforms & squadrons that have gone away in 2 decades. And yes, the fear to commit a withered force will limit response options. Until there's a significant event with massive amounts of American bloodshed or worldwide humiliation. Think 12/7/41, Korea, Cuba, Iran Hostage rescue, 9/11. Then the people will rise, and insist their political masters act. And then, the clock will start, the shuttered plants will spring forth, aged workers will return, and, we'll wait. For years. And by then, the people will be soothed, for their manna from DC will continue, and they'll forget. Unfortunately, history is replete with peaks & valleys, none of it making sense in the rearview mirror, but the relatively recent handout as political tool, coupled with an acrimonious and incompetent congress, put in place by the very same manna seekers, will make it worse.

Anonymous said...

If you listen to Skippy, he shows Singapore as model to follow, hardly a communist one... maybe slightly authoritarian, but on well laid economic basis.
What I see is the man with 200k income being left with 150k to spend, while  the men of 40k income are left with 35k to spend each... try to live on 35k yearly before trying to raise their taxes. In fact in Sweden the 200k income man would pay half of his income in tax, but still he would have almost 3 times more to spend than any of the 40k income men.
re: guns and ammo in the US... I came to the sad conclusion, there is nothing wrong with guns in the citizens hands - see Switzerland. But there is something very wrong with US citizens who handle the guns.

ewok40k said...

it is me from anther computer :)

ewok40k said...

Few bucks (compared to cost of war) invested in 1990s in Afghanistan state building after Soviet exit could have saved the US loads of trouble later...

Skippy-san said...

SAP, getting out of both Iraq and Afghanistan would not only be prudent-it would help avoid some of the cuts the British are making here. Much of our current acquisition crisis is directly due to the amount of resources we have wasted on the wars-with very little in real benefit to US national interest to show from them. The biggest threats to the US national interest our not in Afghanistan. Whatever good we are doing is being more than offset by the opportunity cost of what we are not able to do because we are mired in a conflict for people who will never change.

That said comparisons of the US and Britain are really apples and oranges in my opinion. The British are going to maintain a level of services that even with a Torie government in power -will cause a HUGE political fight over here. They have made a choice of what government can and should do and it is very different than ours.

From a British standpoint-the real question is "where is the threat?" They are only continuing to play in the wars because they want to reaffirm their commitment to NATO-and they don't want even more European powers packing up and creating even more political pressure on their own government to continue to engage in an unpopular war-unpopular with the British as a whole.

Skippy-san said...

I'm amazed by the Tea Party too-such willful ignorance and collective selfhishness is a phenomenon all right, just not a good one.

Southern Air Pirate said...

Skippy,

Your probably better at figuring that out then I. You have had more schooling in that area of international Politicking and diplomancy. That being said, I am not completely sure the wars were our undoing with the federal budget. I almost want to think it was the winning of the cold war and the attempt that since we were the BMOC now, we could afford to pay for every growing social progams. I am going to be a little cut throat and think that we should cut social security back to what it was planned for in the 1930's, just some additional cash for retirees for the in case of thier nest egg turns to pot. I hate to be the Grinch in this sense, but that is the way I feel. Ditto for more then a few other social programs out there. It isn't that I don't care about my fellow man. I just care more for that poor 20yr old who does everything right and still ends up behind the 8-ball in life. Versus another 20yr who sings "The world owes me a livin' " while wondering why they can find a job as a professional computer gamer. 

Southern Air Pirate said...

Skippy,

I am also a strong believer that basically the whole region from Morocco across North Africa over to the border tween Pakistan and India is a region of nothing but trouble that will never have an American or even European Style democracy. The most that I think we can try and do in both regions is decrease our footprint and do like the Brits basically did for about a hundred years in the regions. Just get out and knock heads together when the radicals get out of hand from some staging bases. Other wise, work on keeping the local populace pacified via schooling, some basic economy via trade, and general civiliazation via hospitals. Anything more then that is asking for corruption. I would also note that there are some places in our own backyard that we have been involved with at various times since our own nationed formed. Places like Nicuragua, Haiti, Santo Domingo (aka Dominican Republic), Cuba, Mexico, Bahamas, Columbia, Venezula, heck just about everything south of the Rio Grande/Shopping Mall USA line. Lets look at our track record there and how many of those places are stable?

Byron said...

anti-gun laws have been overturned. The NRA has been extraordinarily successful in both the Congress (both sides of the aisle) and the Courts. Yawn...what silly blather...

Thank God and common sense...

steeljawscribe said...

<span>Remember planning for 2.5 wars? </span>
<span>Like it was yesterday . . . oh wait.</span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

SAP,

You are absolutely incorrect in that assertion.  It was the Bottom-up review that tossed the 2.5 wars paradigm.  Fighting 2 MRCs was what Colin Powell desired in 1993, but Lester Aspin and Bill Clinton set aside that metric, with the "fight one-hold one". 

Rumsfeld is to blame for a lot of things, but THAT isn't one of them.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Collective selfishness?  Why, that would imply extensive entitlement programs using someone else's money. 

Try enlightened self-interest and individual accomplishment.  You know, what this country was built on? 

Willful ignorance seems to start with Article I section 8 of the Constitution in some circles.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Well Ewok, what I see is a government that takes 25% of one man's income, but only 14% of another's.  Takes, mind you.  To give to someone who hasn't earned it.  From each according to their capabilities, to each according to their needs.  Forced redistribution of the wealth.  Communism.

As for the gun question, how did you come to that conclusion?  Did Meredith Viera tell you that?  Go to Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Lousiville, Kansas City, and any other city with a gang problem.  Find out how many shootings are committed by US citizens.  Then, if you find that it is US citizens committing these shootings and dealing the drugs with legally-owned guns, you may state your case.

Southern Air Pirate said...

URR,

Okay, it has been so many years and when I have tried to do use my google-fu for looking up Bottom-up Review all I get is the abstract on some "free" internet library or pr0n related to bottoms. That being said I remember the fight as we moved from the Cold War metric of being able to fight two major theater conflicts and conduct a hold in some brush fire in places like JFQ and Proceedings. I also remember that cackles were up as Rumsfeld was pushing the US Army and USAF in reducing the weight of thier deployable forces to improve the speed of our forces. That was raising the cackles from folks that we had moved away from our 2.5 standard and moved to brush fire standard.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Your props, as you young people say!  ;)

hbp said...

Here is a short little article on the new British Destroyer.

http://www.strategypage.com/humor/articles/military_jokes_2010121323344.asp

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I would chortle, if there weren't people in this country who would find that to be an admirable ship design.

Salty Gator's NMCI Computer Broke said...

Ewok, I'm calling in the Storm Troopers on you.  Really?  Only a liberal could lament tax cuts as "financed by borrowing" and envoking "children."  You want to cut defecits?  CUT SPENDING.  GET RID OF  THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL WELFARE STATE.  Sigh.  You don't get it.  The government CANNOT take a "LOSS" but NOT TAXING YOU AS MUCH.  The only one who loses anything is the tax payer!  The government, if it has to spend less, loses nothing.  Government is of by and for the people.  Therefore, if we CHOOSE to give LESS, then in zero sum WE THE PEOPLE LOSE NOTHING.

Salty Gator's NMCI Computer Broke said...

SHUT UP.  Wealth redistribution is NOT AMERICAN.  The American Dream is not to be poor forever and have the taxpayer funded government take care of you.  The American Dream is to do WHATEVER it takes to no longer be poor!

Grandpa Bluewater said...

The "entitlements" are, in the long term, unsustainable. Congress will, in fits and starts, eventually confiscate everything the middle class has above the poverty level to sustain their perks, pay, and power by enlarging the dependent entitlement underclass. Eventually the nomenklatura will prosper and command the subsistance level proletariat. Then the military and law enforcement will be granted partial entry into the  nomenklatura to ensure the protection of the rest of it from the rebellious remnants of the former middle class and unbreakable control of the proletariat.

Until a nuclear armed moslem fundamentalist theocracy frightens the apparachiks. Then the entitlements will be sqeezed and the military budget will balloon.

We have always been at war with South Asia. Coming soon, the new dark age.

I'm going to crawl under my blankie with my teddie and take a nap until I wake up in 1956.

Or maybe lay of the Wild Turkey before sunrise.  Or something.

Skippy-san said...

That is what a progressive income tax is all about. Its not a redistribution of wealth-it is an accepted priniciple that was advocated from the start of the Federal Income tax. If you you look back in history even Adam Smith advocated progressive taxes.  I will tell you-that if a guy making 200,000 is paying 51,000 in taxes-he needs a better CPA. I ran a simulation of that on Turbo tax last night-just to see if it was right. It's not.

For one thing-that single guy is probably in a place where he is itemizing deductions, contributing to a retirement plan, and has a few other tax deductions as well. Depending on what type of single person he is (originally single or returning to single life via divorce) he may have an actual income that is much lower that what his starting income. My numbers drill came up to about 36K and that was a conservative simulation. Meaning, esepcially if the guy lives in Florida or Nevada he has a nice bit of money to fund a decadent single life style. Tickets to Thailand cost money you know! :)  .

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. -Adam Smith.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

So Skippy, based on all of your assumptions, you are telling me that the 2009 tax tables are incorrect?  Doubt it.  Why should he need a CPA anyway, if there was a simple and straightforward tax code that didn't overly burden those who earn? 

Look at the example again.  $200,000 in taxable income.  Versus five with $40k in taxable income.  Each may very well have IRA contributions.  And if the lower income people aren't itemizing, then they have the personal deduction that the itemizing filer doesn't get. 

If the man with $200k in taxable income has five kids, and each of the others has one kid, then the numbers are even more skewed.  The higher earner is not eligible for the EIC, and the others will be.  This will not change his tax payment one iota, but may reduce each of the others' by $3100.  Making the total that they pay closer to $10k, while he still gets to pay his $51k. 

Yeah, progressive all right.  Redistribution of the wealth.  By force.

Skippy-san said...

I'm saying effective tax rates are what are worth looking at and individual circumstances-and that the wealthier man has a lot more options for reducing his individual effective tax rate than the guy making 45K does. And at the end of the day still walks away with more wealth devoted to more than basic necessities than the other guy.

Besides-income taxes are not the only taxes either one pays. The 45K filer is paying Social Security tax all year long. The 200K guy stopped paying that around August or so.

For a flat tax to work-you have to eliminate all deductions. All of them. That means the middle and upper classes lose their sacred cows-like the mortgage deduction. If you retain deductions the tax is no longer flat, and therefore unworkable. It also will penalize the lower and middile classes more than the upper classes because of the loss of effective buying power compared to Mr. 200K. Furthermore to adminster the tax correctly-you have to make sure there is a vehicle to prevent people from hiding income or offshoring it. That drives you to a VAT pretty quickly. How many Americans want to pay that?

Finally Republicans and Democrats would forever lose their favorite politcal trick of cutting taxes for someone else. If you cut a flat tax you cut everyone's taxes and you have the same budgeting problems you do now. If you want to see what it is like to be REALLY TAXED, try having a flat tax that works the way it is supposed to.

The argument is not about redistribution of income-its about the proper level of services the government can and should provide. The proper answer is not ZERO nor is it ALL. We have been arguing about that for 235+ years.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Skippy, you know good and well that the wealthier man stops paying SSIC by August because he has paid the maximum for which he will ever be able to draw from.  Unless you are advocating that he pay in more than he can draw from.  Which is wealth redistribution. 

As for how much disposable income he is "left" with, that is "from each according to their needs". 

I am a realist and have not recommended a flat tax.  Though such would be an interesting experiment, as all ordinary income would be taxable, without deduction. But your assertion that somehow the rich get away without paying their fair share is precisely contrary to the facts.  They pay far more than their fair share, from a whole dollar as well as a percentage basis. 

I have always been at the $40k end of the spectrum, but have been very disciplined with my spending and my investments, and now see my government laying their hands into any capital gains I might make to the tune of 24%.  That is the fourth time they have taxed that same money.  When the firm I work for made it, when they paid me, when I earned it, and now, when my investment turns a profit.  That is unconscionable.  And should I continue to do well, and make some real money, then they dip in again with an estate tax.  So that my children may have to sell my business to pay the taxes due. Just how was it that I cost the government money by dying?