Sunday, November 15, 2009

Military Spending

I like this line about how the Afghan War would stop pretty quickly if you demanded that it be deficit-neutral over a 10-year timeframe. Can we get some Democratic Senator to come out and say this? I understand that military contractors are powerful in lots of people's states, but surely there's somebody out there who can say smart and provocative things about how we need to reduce military spending without bad consequences.

It's generally a bad thing when interest groups capture the political process and get lots of public funds for their thing by buying votes. But I don't think it gets any worse than the case of military spending, where the bad arguments used as justifications for the spending present foreign threats as more dangerous and conflict as more justified. If somebody makes a bad public policy argument for a bridge or a post office, the worst that happens is that we waste money on a useless bridge or a post office. The worst-case scenario with arguments for military spending is far worse than that. To justify buying unnecessary military hardware, you have to magnify the need to use it, and drive the nation towards war.
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