Panel recommends slashing federal workforce to help with deficit

The White House-led debt-reduction panel recommends cutting the federal workforce, changing the tax code and imposing annual limits on war spending, among other things, in order to save $4 trillion by 2020.

The White House-led Commission on Fiscal Reform and Responsibility has released its final recommendations for slashing the federal deficit, calling for reduced spending in all government areas and cutting federal employment.

The recommendations, made in a report, seek to save $4 trillion by 2020, include trimming the government workforce by 10 percent by 2015, fixing a “broken” American tax code and imposing annual limits on war spending.

“We must end redundant, wasteful and ineffective federal spending, wherever we find it," the report states. "We should cut all excess spending – including defense, domestic programs, entitlement spending, and spending in the tax code."

Although a Nov. 10 draft proposal of the recommendations included specific cuts to the Defense Department budget, the final report leaves out some of the explicit military cuts, including those to force structure and weapons programs, and instead appears to make room for future DOD input.


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“Congress should also consider a [special commission] for terminating major weapons systems, appointed and headed by the secretary of defense, for trimming redundant or ineffective weapons from the Defense Department’s inventory,” the report recommended.

The debt commission called for defense spending to be reduced equally with domestic spending and stresses that the federal deficit remains a national security concern.

“Any serious attempt to reduce the deficit will require deliberate, planned reductions in both domestic and defense spending,” the report states. “As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, has noted, the most significant threat to our national security is our debt. The ability of the United States to keep our country secure over time depends on restoring fiscal restraint today.”

The report recommends capping discretionary spending, including defense, for two years at 2008 levels, and then allowing increases for half the rate of inflation.

In the report, all DOD spending is included under security, which makes up two-thirds of discretionary spending. War spending would be kept in a separate overseas contingent operations category subject to its own spending cap.

The so-called "Moment of Truth" report is subject to a vote by the commission Dec. 3, which will determine if the recommendations progress. At least 14 of the 18 commissioners must approve the measures for the recommendations to go to Congress.

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