Not Cutting The Defense Budget Is Good Stimulus Policy

d-day complains that:

Allow me to interrupt the great love-fest between liberal foreign policy bloggers and Bob Gates by stating the obvious - isn't the fact that the Pentagon budget is increasing, um, THE PROBLEM? And considering that the media-Congressional complex will characterize any effort to put an end to outdated Cold War-era weapons systems as a "defense cut", in the most irresponsible way possible, why aren't we limiting expenditures on a military budget that costs far more than any country's on Earth, depriving us of the flexibility to pursue meaningful social investment?

I have no opinion on the national security implications of the Gates Defense budget but I do have an opinion on calls to cut the Defense budget now - it is wrongheaded. In case anyone has not noticed, aggregate demand is nosediving. Jobs are hemorraging. At least for the next few years, no part of the government budget that stimulates the economy should be cut (though changing expenditures can make a lot of sense, especially changes to more stimulative spending.) Heck, I think I can make a good case for bailing out Detroit for a couple of years as an effective stimulus measure. Once we have gotten through this Depression we are in, then we will need to undertake significant cuts in the discretionary budget (as well as significant tax increases, particularly on the wealthy.) But not now.

Speaking for me only.

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    Okay, then how about cutting the DrugWar? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 07:32:24 AM EST
    40 Billion a year, at the least, is wasted in this idiotic 'Children's Crusade'; after all, we are constantly being told by drug prohibitionists that it is all 'for the children'...while said professional drug prohibitionists are stuffing their wallets.

    Lots of folks could use those scores of Billions, such as in unemployment insurance and Medicaid, housing and utility bill assistance, etc., until this economy gets back on it's feet again.

    What say you?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 07:46:59 AM EST
    How about using those resources for other policy goals in law enforcement?

    We need to government spending for stimulus purposes.


    I've no objection to things like rape prevention (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:00:03 AM EST
    and counseling, traditional on-foot community policing, higher education for law enforcement, etc.

    But I object to my tax dollars being used in fascistic exercises like the DrugWar...which provided the civil rights-destroying foundation for the Bush (Mal)Administration's 'PATRIOT Act' and other abominations. Those things didn't just spring up out of nowhere; they were raised in the DrugWar's incubator.

    This would be a perfect time to clean house and get rid of the things which demonstrably don't work, and all the bureaucratic 'organs' attached to the DrugWar definitely fit that description. And, as I said, that money could be better used by people who are truly desperate, rather than buying armored personnel carriers for SWAT teams to deliver warrants with.


    That works for me (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:10:00 AM EST
    Cutting down on the all the (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:40:54 PM EST
    four hundred dollar hammers and closing the door that leads from procurment officer to lobbying firm and defense contractor management position would be a nice start. Then maybe a little serious inquiry with teeth into all the years of defrauding of the taxpayers.

    I actually agree with you, but (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 07:44:25 AM EST
    how much of the defense budget is still being spent in this country - creating jobs in this country these days?  I'm not trying to be "protectionist" or whatever they call people who care about American jobs these days, but I do think that if we are spending for stimulus purposes we should be making every effort to have that money be spent here if we can.  I'd also like to see the government and the Pentagon reassess their outsourcing policies.  I still can't get over the fact that most American bases are being guarded by private security forces.  I understand that the Army has an outside company make its uniforms, but I don't understand why the Army would need a private security force that would be paid more than our soldiers would.

    Most of your defense money (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:25:45 AM EST
    is spent here.  It is the only way we can hope to control the technology.  Even that isn't working so well :)  China works like mad to steal as much of our defense technology as they can.  Attempting to hack into DOD computer systems is an ongoing FIGHT!  And it has hampered our military in being able to have computer networking, just chaps my husband cuz he has to start hand walking actual sheets of paper around again :)  Our attempt to maintain superpower status has kept this "studying of war" mostly at home.  They did try to farm some of this tech  out under Bush but it was immediately stolen.

    Well (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 07:48:03 AM EST
    I imagine not much is spent overseas for national security reasons, other than the amounts spent, um, actually in conflict areas.

    The weapons systems are made in the good ole USA.


    MT answered my question because (none / 0) (#28)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:07:00 AM EST
    I asked it remembering a time when it was revealed that the Bush Administration was awarding contracts to overseas firms some in the context of stories about security breeches, but she says that they pulled that back so...

    For me it's about spending (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by AlkalineDave on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 07:55:02 AM EST
    money wisely that will keep me safe.  What does F-22 raptors do for me when boots are on the ground?  Large scale state to state war is over.  We've taken too long to get over the Cold War.  I think it was Thomas Barnett who said, "We're paying for one war while fighting another."  Marine General Mattis himself said that if we even had a large scale war (China) it would turn into an insurgency in no time.  Peronally,I'm glad to have a secdef who understands this.  

    don't cut shift (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:03:37 AM EST
    resources from defense to energy.  This is EXACTLY where you shift now.  The jobs that will be lost in defense will be mfg and engineering, all of whom could make the transition to clean energy initiatives and we would be getting a lot more for our dollar.  Our defense budget is bloated and our clean energy budget nearly non-existent.

    Newer companies give you a hell of a lot more bang for your buck and engineers at defense contractors have transferable skills and will find work much sooner than financeers or labor types right now.

    So you are right, do not cut, shift.

    Well, what would be cool would be (none / 0) (#19)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:50:52 AM EST
    research and development money in the defense budget being allocated to green technology initiatives that could in theory both train people in the field, yield innovation, and help advance the field overall.

    Interestingly, the Postal Service was mandated to spend a certain amount of their budget on energy conservation and green tech.  That's why you see natural gas trucks in their fleets, electric vehicles and some plants built with solar panels on top.  There is a lot we can do to drive green policy forward within the established government services as they stand now.


    Cut defense (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:03:51 AM EST
    Increase spending on infrastructure rebuilding.  One of the biggest security issues in this country is that our infrastructure is decaying.  We have no money to fix it, but could, if....

    While I often see eye-to-eye with BTD . . . (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Doc Rock on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 10:13:09 AM EST
    . . .  on things political, I think we diverge on economics.  The stimulus money should go to where it is need the most and next to encouraging businesses to take on environmental challenges.  Pouring it down the rat hole of defense contracting on excess systems and old-fashioned strategy-related systems is a luxury we cannot afford. I am a veteran, retired from DoD, and a War College graduate.  I support smart contracting to maintain a smart defense.

    The military industrial complex... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 10:16:39 AM EST
    ...must die.  Sooner rather than later.  If part of our economic rebirth is killing it, good.

    I understand the instinct to keep it going as it is, Tent, but understand that in doing this you perpetuate the single most destructive force in American history -- Eisenhower was spot on right, in other words.

    And if we can't transition millions of Americans into jobs relatively quickly when WE ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO, then we are worthless anyway and it's all pointless.

    Let the Workers Make Something useful (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Jade Jordan on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 11:18:54 AM EST
    Why can't we re-purpose the defense plants to make something we need.  Why can't lockheed or Boeing make bullet trains, solar panels, or wind turbines?

    Why can't the money be spent to build/repair roads and bridges?  Why can't we give money to Tesla and let them use existing plants and employees to make their cars.

    If a weapon system was too crappy to be used in Iraq or Afganistan then it needs to be scrapped.

    I have no problem with spending the money but prefer we spend it on something we need and intend to use.

    Ah, the crux of the problem (none / 0) (#42)
    by MyLeftMind on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 11:34:36 AM EST
    We OVERPAY for defense contracting because of 1) Exploitation of the public's fear, and 2) Dishonest politics (defense contractors own our government).  The military industrial complex is not going to pay for trains, solar panels or wind turbines unless the government is willing to pay them ten times what they're worth.  

    Want stimulus? Settle the wiretap suit. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:13:31 PM EST
    $10,000 Statutory Damages to each plaintiff in the Class, with the Class consisting of every domestic telco customer.

    Now you're talking Ben.... (none / 0) (#44)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:20:05 PM EST
    but our hands aren't worthy...I think you need to royally rip people off before you qualify for any public assistance for the purpose of stimulus.

    I don't necessarily agree.. (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by jussumbody on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:43:16 PM EST
    Defense spending that goes primarily to American workers may be stimulus, but when it goes to contractors and ends up in CEOs compensation (which may be going to the Caymans) or to multinational investors in the form of dividends.

    I think we need a lot more analysis to say whether or not spending cuts could be better spent in other ways.

    Can't agree.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:01:17 AM EST
    Jobs ain't the be all end all...they must serve a purpose, and much of the defense budget, while creating some jobs and enriching a few, serves no real purpose.

    Besides..if its about the jobs, I can think of 100 better ways to put people to work than building weapons systems we don't need.

    no but..... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:12:11 AM EST
    the middle class and the poor are most adversely affected by lack of jobs.  The wealthy cancel trips abroad and cut back on luxury items while the poor get evicted, lose their homes, and get totally effin screwed because the democrats failed to stop the republicans from passing the bankruptcy bill of a few years ago that totally favors banks and creditors irrespective of their predatory lending and bubble markets.

    If the poor were not so disproportionately hurt I would not give a rats arse about jobs.  

    5000 people a day are filing bankruptcy, within 4 weeks it will be 7500 and within 12 weeks it will be 10k.  

    We keep saying we need housing to bottom, does anyone know what that means?  We need to cycle through foreclosures to bottom out pricing so we can sell our homes at 35% less than we paid.  With the continuing spiral of job loss, bottom of real estate won't happen until next year.  Which of course means job loss will continue into next year.....


    Don't get me wrong... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:18:21 AM EST
    Good jobs are critical, and we don't have enough of them, just saying that there are good jobs that produce something of value, like the job creation of an enviromental clean-up or building a school...and bad jobs that inevitably lead to death and destruction.

    Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy "if we build them, they will be used" type of thing.


    Indeed... (none / 0) (#14)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:30:37 AM EST
    ...when the stockpile of weapons gets large enough, the military seems to go looking for excuses to use them.  

    Turning over of inventory, if you will.


    I never thought there would come a (none / 0) (#20)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:56:45 AM EST
    day that I would be arguing in favor of defense spending, but we have trashed a lot of our equipment in the past ten years.  I'm not saying that it all needs to be replaced, but we aren't going to live in a world where we can just do away with it all.  At the moment, it seems like there is a parity here between the stimulative effects and a real need.  Of course, you're probably thinking what I am thinking which is that they won't ever plan just enough - they'll plan way more than they need - and you might be right.

    But I will say that when this economic crisis came into full relief, I anticipated that the defense hawks would not see any cut backs as a result - knowing that government spending as a source of stimulus was going to ultimately be one of the guiding principles in the government's efforts to get out of this economic hole - and it doesn't hurt that Blue Dogs never met a tank they didn't want to fund.


    i agree it makes no sense (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:33:35 AM EST
    to build a bunch of stuff that you never want to use.

    It really no longer matters though, Obama and team have waited too long to even consider a 2nd stimulus and the first stimulus is NOT going to create 3.5 million jobs.

    That "save" in the save or create 3.5 million jobs is fancier english than credit default swap.  

    We  are giving money to the banks to bail out the CDS/CDO, and walking away from homeowners and ready and willing to work americans.  

    I don't give a rats arse if we are only 70 days into the administration, it is Obamas economy.

    The decision to stay with the bank bailout while conceding 10% unemployment, record bankruptcy, record foreclosure and at best a mini depression is HIS decision.  

    Telling us that we will start to recover in the 3rd or 4th qtr will kill his credibility and his legacy.  

    3.5 million jobs will not be created and the jobs "saved" will be creative numerology at best.  

    I would like to know what jobs were saved and how those jobs provide more to the overall economy than the jobs that were not saved.  As long as we are playing lifeboat with taxpayer money, we should at least know what jobs were saved and why.  (I know some will be private industry and will be spun by the admin as saved and are not part of the lifeboat scenario but I hope the underlying meaning makes sense)


    No argument here man.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:45:20 AM EST
    As far as I'm concerned, we lost our government in a non-violent coup de tat....I can't tell you eaxctly when it happened...but Treasury Secretaries Paulson and Geithner is all I needed to see to be convinced.

    Thw working man and woman had a pretty good run...but the times are changing back, all the way back to the fuedal system.


    Appears that (none / 0) (#23)
    by cal1942 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:00:56 AM EST
    you've never had other people to support.

    If this goes deep enough you too will be without means.

    The hard truth is that many of the social changes some people want won't happen until people are back to work and have a sense of economic security. Some social changes will require that people in general be magnanimous and open minded and that can't happen when people are worried about losing or have lost the basic necessities.


    I'd rather starve... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:06:42 AM EST
    and than support myself by building weapons of mass destruction.

    But again...if we need jobs, lets clean up a polluted waterway, lets build a school...to hell with more fighter jets and guided missiles and destroyers.

    There is no good reason to spend more on defense (err, offense) than the rest of the world combined...none.  A) We're broke. B) There are hundreds of better jobs we could create...jobs that improve our world instead of worsen it.


    Okay (none / 0) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:14:53 AM EST
    You'd rather starve.  What about everyone else?

    I don't know... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:24:09 AM EST
    what about you?  No qualms about working to build a drone to kill Pakistanis?

    And if no qualms...wouldn't you rather work at something productive if given the choice?  Because we have a choice.


    here here (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 10:22:56 AM EST
    the utter lack of imagination displayed in this topic is mind numbing.  the military industrial complex is pure, unadulterated evil that has killed millions.  defend that and you are, no question, defending mass murder.  we are so good at putting our heads in the sand when we think we need to.  

    You'd rather starve (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:44:40 PM EST
    The guys who run dog fighting rings and whores Im sure rationalize it just like that. Im helping my family; if I dont do it somebody else will..

    Bills to pay... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 01:10:39 PM EST
    is the justification for an awful lot of nasty...no doubt.  I guess we all have a different level of dirty we're comfortable with....sun god knows I'm walking a fine line in my own mind.

    These are high tech middle class jobs we (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:30:22 AM EST
    would lose.  Outside of that I wouldn't mind if we lost superpower status.  Of course my husband would and he's ticked.  Says Obama is trying to think like Rumsfeld did and go Ninja, and is trying to ignore the need for conventional war deterrence.  Don't ask me

    exactly why you move the money (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:58:35 AM EST
    instead of eliminating it.  Average time to find a new job is 19 weeks (comparable full time employment) for highly specialized or technology types it is less than 8.   The lower the education level and specialty level of the unemployed person, the greater chance that the duration of ue will be closer to 52 weeks.  These are no such people.

    Defense contracts are bloated with a capital b through d, and moving some money away from the contractors will give us better pricing long and short term.  Every other industry is shrinking their prices to move product retail, copper, steel, commodities etc.  And doing so at 50% mark downs.  They have to because consumption is way down by the public.

    There should be an equitable price compression  in defense and we have seen no such thing.  The best way to get price breaks is to reduce consumption.

    They will layoff and cut prices and their employees are far more marketable than a sales rep working the floor at Lord & Taylor or Nieman, who have suffered massive layoffs in their industry as a whole.

    finally, look at CEO's of defense contractors and check their salary increases over the last 7 years, like the  bankers it is "explosive".


    Plus.. (none / 0) (#15)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:31:12 AM EST
    We'll need those f-22s when the aliens come.  No, I don't mean the mexicans.

    I see that some of the stimulus money is going to Detroit and being used to demolish old buildings like the michigan train station.  Such a bizarre situation.  Government money being used to dismantle Detroit.

    I really don't know (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Steve M on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:47:16 AM EST
    what your obsession with mocking Detroit is lately, but some of your comments have been really inappropriate.

    East Coast bias (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:03:11 AM EST
    well (none / 0) (#31)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:25:25 AM EST
    I was born in the city and I find it facinating.  My grandparents arrived in 1925 and lived off 12th street.  

    The use of stimulus money on short term demolition projects seemed to tie in nicely with the above comments.


    Millitary Spending/Manufacturing (none / 0) (#21)
    by Samuel on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 08:58:02 AM EST
    Bids up the prices of inputs (both materials and skilled labor) around the globe in order to produce goods that do not improve our way of life.  In other words, building bombs is making lots of things more expensive for consumers.  Cut the budget and the weapons contractors will either seek out consumer demand in new products that improve living standards (what happened in Japan after WWII - per US demands)  or go bankrupt.  If the latter, their factories will be up for auction and the manufacturing base free as well.  What happens with those factories and the labor is up to market demand and will reflect this demand much more efficiently than when funding was sourced from the taxpayer.  

    Now I don't have any numbers here but it seems very likely that the drop in raw material prices resulting from a military budget cut and the possible creation of a new export industries in existing factories w/ skilled labor available would give us a fighting chance as the dollar whithers to dust.  

    We'll reduce pollution to boot.  

    Living in the oceans (none / 0) (#32)
    by Fabian on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:33:28 AM EST
    or the circumpolar regions would be cheaper.

    Why space?

    Because some day even the oceans (none / 0) (#46)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:31:11 PM EST
    would be crowded.

    And I'd hate to think that Humanity could be so easily wiped out by a piece of rock moving at the Great Maker's own speed, i.e. like the dinosaurs. Too many things zipping around out there that we are unaware of that could do just that. Earth has always been a target; why insist on sitting on a  bull's-eye?


    I don't know man... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 01:08:30 PM EST
    I kinda take heart in the fact that human life will one day be wiped off the face of the earth, either by asteroid or climate change or disease or whatever...as a species we're not all we're cracked up to be...plus it makes every day your alive very special, imagine how fast we would wreck the joint if we had space condos at the ready.

    Okay, think about it this way (none / 0) (#63)
    by SeeEmDee on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:59:10 AM EST
    And, I'll take flack for this, but what the Hell.

    How much of government policy (such as drug laws) in any government is comprised of sheer stupidity?

    Space is a damned dangerous environment; that's a given. Stupidity would get those suffering from it killed pretty quickly. Let them stay at home, where they can engage in their stupidity relatively safely...and let those seeking to escape that chronic, tragic stupidity, that's been responsible for so much of the misery we call 'history', do so by 'kissing Earth goodbye'.

    Because the sad fact is, so long as that stupidity is permitted to continue, and is enshrined in the national policies of the major nations, Humanity remains at risk of extinction. And, quite frankly, why should those who don't suffer from that particular disease be made to suffer its results?

    The ideological rationale for America was based in large part for the country to become a refuge for those seeking to escape the various irrationalities of their home countries (I'm French, you're German, we fight because we're traditional enemies, or one king picks a fight with another one, and the citizens of the warring nations are the ones who suffer the most, that kind of nonsense). Space colonization would serve the same purpose.

    Like I said, many would find the summation unpalatable. But where else can you go to get away from idiots with power?  


    I have to doubt that this will happen (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 10:26:37 AM EST
    and the plan will be greatly cut back by Congress, and Obama and the Dems will want that.

    Obama is a Westerner, really -- Hawaii, Kansas (officially Midwest but borderline), California for college, etc.  And the Dems relied greatly on a Western strategy (as did the Repubs, picking an Arizonan and an Alaskan, but the Dems did it better).  And defense budgets built the modern West and its political power.  Note other Westerners in power in the party:  Reid, Pelosi, etc.

    So this probably was another ploy to look good without expecting it to go through in its entirety or even in a significant way.  There will be a few sacrificial lambs led to the budget slaughter, but there will be no major shift of funding in the end.  But Obama and the Dems will be able to say that they tried.  Of course, if they want to get rid of Reid and Pelosi, they may be blamed.  But the funding will remain there.  

    the converse? (none / 0) (#37)
    by diogenes on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 10:56:45 AM EST
    If not cutting defense spending is good stimulus policy, then additional defense spending is good stimulus policy.  Why wasn't there any extra defense spending in the Obama stimulus plan?
    This is all about giving liberal dems political cover for not supporting defense cuts (I saw that that Hinchey guy in New York, as liberal as they come, was decrying cuts in the presidential helicopter program because, you guessed it, they're built in his district).

    Acceleration of defense spending planned (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 11:22:13 AM EST
    would have made a great deal of sense.

    My usual plea for education (none / 0) (#38)
    by Manuel on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 11:14:42 AM EST
    Our state's new budget (WA) proposes to cut about 1B from K-12 education.  Tuition at the state universities is due to take a healthy hike (though it is still a great deal).  Surely, the pentagon wouldn't miss 1B.  Education works as stimulus with nice long term returns.  There is no reason why we should not spend more wisely.  There was a time when I did not approve of direct grants to states but in these times, returning money to the states makes some sense.

    I agree... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:43:09 PM EST
    ...education is more of a vital lynchpin our survival and growth as nation than the tools of war and strife, IMO.  

    Here is CO, the Joint Budget Committee is talking about cutting funding for higher education in half.  That means hefty tuition increases and a lot of smaller, community schools will have to shut their doors.  

    Education is the key to our future, not amassing even more weapons so we can destroy the World X times over.  


    Enrollment will drop (none / 0) (#52)
    by Cream City on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:59:25 PM EST
    and you might see if that already occurred.  It may not show up yet in overall enrollment, but look at the first-year enrollment/frosh.  At the state university in my city, first-year student enrollment already dropped 15 percent last fall from the recession (and as a commuter campus, from the high gas prices then).  It now is projected to drop a lot again for next fall, while tuition keeps going up and up. . . .

    Private campus projections here also are reportedly down, although some campuses are doing what privates can do in downturns; they are raiding endowments to buy enough students.

    It's not clear to me yet whether the voc school enrollment is compensating (many of them here offer the first year or two of college courses that then can be transferred).  If not, yes, we will be paying for this loss for decades to come, although it is the best investment we can make.


    Time for retooling, consolidation and reuse (none / 0) (#39)
    by MyLeftMind on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 11:14:46 AM EST
    If I had my druthers we would maintain our current level of troops, redeploy them to Afghanistan and our borders, involve them in the fight against drug cartels, have them burn this year's opium crop (making it known that they will do so NOW so farmers in Afghanistan can plan accordingly), and quit the babysitting in Iraq, including the US AID money spent putting Iraqis through American universities (not counted in our military budget, BTW).  Excess military staff can be involved in infrastructure projects here (many of them are trained engineers and communications specialists).  This is a good time to scale back on wasteful military programs, yet retool for domestic problems so the jobs (military and industry) aren't lost.

    The main problem with defense contracting on excess systems is that we overpay and it's for stuff we don't need.  We could use that exact same amount of money to employ those same people (and more!) if we retool for infrastructure.  For instance, we pay software developers to build electronic systems for the military.  We modify and replace those systems constantly.  Meanwhile, every city and every county and every state in the country pays software developers to create systems to run their respective organizations.  All city's of similar sizes have the same basic functions.  Why must we pay for each and every city in the country to develop systems that let them track road problems and repairs, run their recreation facilities, file and publish their public records, tax their citizens, operate their planning departments.  Same thing for similar functions at the state and county level.  Every state in the country has to issue driver's licenses.  Why are we paying for each state to develop or buy separate driver's license recording and tracking systems?  Millions of dollars (billions?) are spent creating redundant software systems.  Again, the economy and the withdrawal from Iraq create the perfect situation for smart adjustments that retool, consolidate and reuse our resources.

    If defense spending is good (none / 0) (#45)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:23:44 PM EST
    does that mean the Iraq/Afghan Wars moneys spent prior to the 2008 economic meltdown was also good?

    No (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:57:19 PM EST
    The benefit as "stimulus" was completely outweighed by the catastrophic results.

    Sounds like a couple of (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:59:54 PM EST
    realtionships I've been in.

    jondee, you're on a roll! (none / 0) (#54)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 01:02:10 PM EST
    Great line (none / 0) (#55)
    by Cream City on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 01:06:47 PM EST
    and perfectly captures the way I'm feeling about the stimulus plan.  I'm in a bad relationship with my gummint.

    Several things (none / 0) (#58)
    by OldCity on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 01:31:04 PM EST
    are known about the current state of the military.  Among them, the fact that a huge percentage of their viehicles (ALL vehicles.  trucks, tanks, transports, helicopters, etc) are depreciating out quickly due to use and age.  

    We also know that the military isn't currently equipped for more than one conflict and that it depends heavily on contractors for services previously rendered internally.  

    We know that the procurement process is a joke and we know that political will often trumps common sense in purchasing/development.

    So, it is worthwhile, in my view, to redesign the procurement process.  It's worthwhile to grow the military to engage in the activity for which it currently pays contractors.  It's necessary to resource the military sufficiently to fight the conflicts we want to fight and the conflicts we don't.  We should invest inmilitary technologies that make sense for the age.

    There's no inconsistency in being a lefty and recognizing that though defense spending may have a collateral benefit (stimulus), it is a necessary fixed cost that will never, ever go away.  The world isn't threatening to break out in peace.


    Political bancruptcy (none / 0) (#59)
    by Andreas on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 01:53:26 PM EST
    I do have an opinion on calls to cut the Defense budget now - it is wrongheaded

    This demonstrates the political bancruptcy of the Democrats and the capitalist system. Their answer to the social catastrophy is to spend money for the imperialist war machinery.

    The "Independence Day" syndrome: (none / 0) (#60)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 02:27:38 PM EST
    war will bring us all together.

    As Big Al said, you cant simultaneously prepare for it and do away with it.


    Are you under the illusion that (none / 0) (#61)
    by OldCity on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 03:12:23 PM EST
    the rest of the world intends to "do away" with war?

    Even the Pax Romana ended.  I don't think there is anything in human history that points to even a remote chance of world peace.  


    Everything must be cut (none / 0) (#62)
    by Slado on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:21:16 AM EST
    We are broke.

    We are printing money to pay off our old debts and taking on new debt to try and keep this debt bubble going.

    Clinton, then Bush, now Obama.  Obama is practicing the same bad monetary policy practiced by Clinton/Greenspan, Bush/Greenspan, Bush/Bernacke.  We don't pay our debts we just take on new ones.  

    Bernie Madoff should not be put in jail he should be made head of the treasury because he has expert woking knowledge on how to effectively run a ponzi scheme.

    Maybe Defense shoudln't be cut, maybe education shouldn't be cut, or not cut as much.   Who knows but overall government must be cut and Obama is doing exactly the opposite.

    He's growing government at record pace and printing money to fund it.   That is a recipe for disaster and the inevitable full collapse will soon be upon us.

    Then we will need a military to defend us against our creditors.