Budgetary meltdowns in states and municipalities throughout 2011 have made one thing abundantly clear: the Blue Model is slowly bankrupting America at all levels of government. It isn’t just rust belt cities with public unions that are feeling the pain: not even the Pentagon is immune. From the New York Times:
Many who are more worried about cuts, including Mr. Panetta, acknowledge that Pentagon personnel costs are unsustainable and that generous retirement benefits may have to be scaled back to save crucial weapons programs.
“If we allow the current trend to continue,” said Arnold L. Punaro, a consultant on a Pentagon advisory group, the Defense Business Board, who has pushed for changes in the military retirement system, “we’re going to turn the Department of Defense into a benefits company that occasionally kills a terrorist.” […]
One independent analyst, Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonpartisan policy and research group in Washington, has calculated that if military personnel costs continue rising at the rate they have over the past decade, and overall Pentagon spending does not increase, by 2039 the entire defense budget would be consumed by personnel costs.
The answer, in the Pentagon and elsewhere, can’t just be to cut wages and benefits. There have to be productivity enhancements: municipal governments and the defense bureaucracy have got to get more done with fewer hands. In both kinds of organization the ‘teeth to tail’ ratio is part of the problem: how much of the workforce is getting the mission done as opposed to how much does support and supervision.
Read More at The American Interest Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest