Saturday, September 17, 2011

About the 'soft socialism' of Big Defense Spending

Some of my conservative friends have taken issue with my use of the term "soft socialism" to describe how defense spending is used not just for defense purposes, but to prop up the economy and provide jobs. Defense, they point out, is an enumerated power of the government under the Constitution. And so it is! But so is the establishment of post offices. And I doubt very much that my conservative friends would describe that as a capitalist enterprise: Just because the Founders thought of something doesn't mean it was market-oriented. In any case, defense is an enumerated power—but the military we have today, with bases and ships around the world, is also light years away from what the Founders conceived. That never comes up.

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