Letters to the Editor

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BUDGET: One place to cut the federal budget

Letter by John Mills, Tacoma on Feb. 17, 2011 at 11:18 am | 2 Comments »
February 17, 2011 3:13 pm

A quick read of President Obama’s latest budget proposal shows why spending is hopelessly out of control. Among other things, the administration proposes $11.8 billion in new budget authority for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

According to the budget, “The overall investment (in NNSA) includes $7.6 billion for Weapons Activities, an increase of $1.2 billion over 2010.”

I hadn’t heard of the National Nuclear Security Administration before, so maybe a lot of Americans are unaware of this $12 billion agency. It’s part of the Department of Energy, not the Department of Defense, although it apparently handles nuclear bombs.

I’m not sure why we need a National Nuclear Security Administration unless the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military aren’t able to safely handle these things. And, if that’s true, why should we trust the people over at NNSA to do better?

The Department of Defense is scheduled to have a “base budget” of $553 billion – more than Washington state spent on all state government in the last decade. If, somewhere in that huge Department of Defense budget, we could provide for surveillance and management of America’s nuclear bombs, we could save $12 billion.

That isn’t a large part of the federal budget, but it is more than Washington state spends each year on basic education. Maybe this is an investment we don’t need to make.

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