Parting shots


By all accounts, Maj. Gen. George H. Akin has done a standout job during his command of the Aberdeen Proving Ground over the past three years of making the vast Army facility a more hospitable resident of the natural environment of Maryland.

But if the good general is kind and gentle toward the natural environment, he gives the social environment the back of his hard hand. To repeat his exact words, contained in a story by Evening Sun reporter Bruce Reid yesterday:

"You're getting these strident calls from every bleeding heart liberal in the world, 'Cut the defense budget by half and give it all to the poor.' Ha!"

Now, it's a little hard to endure lectures on "bleeding-heart liberalism" from the lips of one who has spent his entire working life of 35 years in the most cradle-to-grave socialistic environment you can find anywhere this side of North Korea. And this military socialism will continue to render handsome benefits for the general to the tune of more than $60,000 a year in retirement pay alone for as long as he lives, and that doesn't include the substantial other benefits he will receive, such as medical care.

But just to set the record straight, the military is presently reaping over 20 percent of the total $1.45 trillion federal budget. When you add to that the fixed outlays for entitlements and for debt service on the accumulated debt of $3 trillion, what's left in discretionary spending is less than $200 billion, or around 15 percent of total federal expenditures. That's what goes to run the airports, medical research, the highway system, the FBI, the courts, the national parks, the environmental agencies and, yes, to throw out a few crumbs to alleviate the misery of the poor.

All in all, it's unlikely the poor get a tenth as much from the federal government as the military gets. Do you really think that's "giving it all to the poor," general?

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