Pessimistic DOD Prepares for the Worst

Pessimistic DOD Prepares for the Worst

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pessimistically announced Thursday that the DOD has “no other choice but to prepare for the worst,” and plans to impose a hiring freeze on civilians, slash operating costs on military bases and take other steps to trim spending in preparation to absorb the $52 billion in cuts this year  -  Read more at The Washington Post

SANDY RELIEF BILL STUFFED WITH PORK   The House is slated to finally vote on a bill that provides emergency aid to Hurricane Sandy victims next week, but like the Senate’s fiscal cliff bill passed last week, the House’s relief measure is stuffed with earmarks that have nothing to do with the bill’s purpose—helping  East Coast storm victims, The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin reports.

According to a new analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense, the bill includes $2 billion to help with road repairs across the country, $16 billion for any community or state that has been declared a federal disaster area in the last three years, and $500 million for reclamation projects in coastal areas that were unscathed by Hurricane Sandy.

Though pork-stuffed bills are hardly uncommon, the hypocrisy of House members House jumping on the Senate bill’s seemingly random earmarks that provided tax breaks to racetracks and rum suppliers while they apparently were packing the pork into their own bill, is worth noting.   -   Read more about what’s in the bill at The Fiscal Times

CALIFORNIA IS OUT OF THE RED     The state that has been the poster child of fiscal disaster is emerging from years of deficits with a balanced budget. Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters Thursday that the state is no longer running a deficit and is expected to have a $21.5 million surplus by 2014. “The deficit is gone…For the next four years we are talking about a balanced budget,” he said. “We are talking about living within our means. This is new. This is a breakthrough.” This is a major turnaround for California, which faced a $26 billion deficit when Brown took office in 2010. -   Read more at The New York Times

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.