It was a busy week for the Obama administration, not least of which was the unveiling of the FY 2010 Federal Budget (read the story here and find the details of the proposed budget here). There’s a lot to say about this document. But I will spare you the lot of observations and share just three.
State appears to be a big winner in this budget. It’s funding is scheduled to increase from 47.2 billion to 51.7. That is, by my own back-of-the-envelope calculations, more than a 9% increase—a big bump up—the biggest percent jump of any department.
Compare that with Defense. Their baseline budget, excluding supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, and excluding any sort of bridge funds, will be 534 billion for FY 2010. Though enormous in absolute terms, the amount is barely a 4% increase over its baseline budget of 513 for the 09 fiscal year.
That could mean trouble. DoD is known to get nasty when its budget starts to tighten. And DoD personnel are some of the best media handlers in the Beltway, better even than the leaky-faucets that seem to be everywhere inside the CIA. Watch out then for signs of an interservice rivalry, especially over cuts to special programs, the Airforce and Navy in particular. Watch out also for how this political hot potato will be handled by Obama’s administration. And whether Secretary Gates will be able to manage the contest with his reputation in tact.
Last, and little known, is a big hit to President Bush’s pet program, the Millenium Challenge Corporation. This was first created by President Bush after his announcement of it in the 2004 State of the Union speech. Since then the corporation has been lushly funded—assigned 1.5 billion in 2008. Obama’s budget would almost cut that in half, to 875 million. This means not only will Obama kill one program that Bush was especially fond of, and was bright spot in his administration. In addition, Obama, in an effort to find money for his budget, may have starved a program that had been considered the most effective aid agency in the government.
by the Miserly Budget Monitor