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US cuts defense spending as China ramps up

March 7, 2012
Salem News

As Americans ponder ways to reduce defense spending, the Chinese government is ramping up it military budget dramatically. Spending on China's armed forces is being increased by 11 percent this year, on track to pass the $100 billion level for the first time in history.

While that remains far below U.S. spending levels - President Barack Obama proposes a $524 billion Pentagon budget for the coming year - it still represents a change certain to worry policymakers in Washington.

What is of particular concern is China's strategy of building up its force projection capability. For decades, Chinese strategy was to maintain a massive homeland defense force, coupled with a relatively modest arsenal of strategic nuclear weaponry.

Now, leaders in Beijing want the force projection ability to use conventional forces regionally and, perhaps, throughout the globe. China's first aircraft carrier has been built. Smaller, long-range troop carriers are planned. Clearly, the regime's goal is to be able to send Chinese troops to regions where their use is desired, and to support them with air power.

That presents a potential challenge to U.S. interests throughout Asia, and perhaps on a wider stage.

Clearly, U.S. military spending needs to be more efficient. But given the new strategy adopted by Beijing, it also needs to craft responses to a new catalogue of threats.


Employees of the Ohio Turnpike enjoy retirement benefits of which the overwhelming majority of taxpayers can only dream. For example, the turnpike's top engineer received $287,000 in pay and separation benefits when he retired last year.

Part of the problem is that when turnpike employees retire, they can cash in unused sick and vacation leave. In the private sector, sick leave is for when you're sick. Unused vacation leave is gone at the end of the year.

Turnpike Executive Director Richard Hodges has said the lavish retirement benefits are too generous. He's right. They should be eliminated.



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