Pentagon hacks shamed themselves and enraged a nation with their petty attempt to score politcal 'Shutdown!' points by denying death benefits to the familes of fallen shoulders. Even the Times feels obliged to call "BS" on their charade:
WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials said Wednesday that they would contract with a charity group, the Fisher House Foundation, to restore death benefits to families of service members killed in action, including a $100,000 payment, that have been stopped by the government shutdown. The officials said the Pentagon would reimburse the group after the shutdown ended.
Although Pentagon officials insisted on Tuesday that they could not do anything about restoring death benefits without Congressional approval, their agreement with Fisher House on Wednesday suggested that the officials had changed their minds.
Yes, they changed their minds after relieving their cranial-anal impaction.
What is (or ought to be) shocking about this story is that some bright light in the Pentagon advised that the legal authority to continue these death benefits was ambiguous, so the safer course would be to discontinue them and blame the Republican shutdown. And rather than throw the fool out and demand better lawyers, Defense Secretary Hagel, who normally pretends to care about the troops he notionally leads, played along. What, they were worried that an aggressive Inspector General or House Committee would be outraged by this possible overstep of authority and demand impeachment? I guess the legal haze has cleared and statutory intent (don't screw the troops, even dead ones) has come clear to them.
That said, I do see their subtle plan. Now that Moodys has joined the debt default deniers, the notion that the Treasury can prioritize payments to avoid a default on US Government securities has gotten new life. I think Team Obama is trying to convince us that they really do have the sort of mix of incompetence (cf the Obamacare website) and evil that would lead the Treasury to screw up its cash management and default on an interest or principal payment just for the political theatre.