In sum, when the budgetary puts and takes of the “consensus” reform proposals are calculated, the net savings over the next decade—the period covered by the budget act and sequestration—vanish. The small savings to be had from even the most optimistic workforce reductions and compensation cuts probably will be offset by the expense of base closures.
This is not to suggest that these reform proposals should be ignored. The metastasizing costs of health benefits, in particular, will eventually have the effect Punaro predicts—and sooner rather than later, as the overall defense budget falls. But no budgetary efficiencies can make up for the cuts now already in law and the resulting hollowing-out of the American military.
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