economics politics

Putting things into perspective (military spending)

CATO’s Christopher Preeble makes a lot of sense in his post about Gates’s proposels for trimming down the military.


“Gates claims that the U.S. military needs to grow because the world is becoming “more dangerous.” More dangerous than what? The notion that a few hundred al Qaeda ragamuffins and their Taliban allies poses a greater threat to Americans than a nuclear-armed Soviet Union is absurd on its face, and yet we spend more on our military today than at the height of the Cold War.”

The plan to cut down on waste by shutting down the Joint Forces Command in Hampton has gotten the predictable responses from the local politicians. The senators, house members, the governor, and the local politicos are unanimous in declaring that the closing of that command will be disastrous to the national security of the nation… oh, and it will adversely affect the local economy too. If military spending is going to be cut, things will have to go away. And guess what Virginia, states that have a heavy military presence are going to get things cut. Trying to make the case that everyone else in the country needs to support this base because Hampton will suffer is absurd. The fact that no one mentions the unfairness of this arrangement galls me. It’s one thing if the base actually does protect us in some way, but when the military itself considers it expendable, that should tell us something.

I suppose that this base actually did something at least. There are several senators and congressmen pursuing projects that the military has explicitly stated that they do not want and will not use. This doesn’t stop politicians from trying to waste our money for their voters. The building of an alternate engine for the joint strike fighter and the C-17 airplane are conspicuous in their egregious waste of money. These are projects that will not be used, but politicians are pushing them to create jobs in their districts. It’s akin to paying people to dig holes and then fill them in again.

I need to stop reading the news, all of this makes me sick.

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