Friday, September 16, 2011

Max Boot sounds just like Paul Krugman

Conservative military analyst Max Boot has never met a defense spending cut he likes, but his latest argument against cuts is ... interesting:

The defense secretary estimates trimming $1 trillion from the defense budget during the next decade–as could occur this fall–would add one percent to the unemployment rate. Given that unemployment is now at 9.1 percent, that’s a further hit that our economy simply can’t afford.

Now, Boot doesn't really write or advocate on economics. But it's interesting that his argument here very like Paul Krugman: We shouldn't be cutting big chunks from government right now because that austerity withdraws money from the economy and thus deepens the Great Recession.

But of course, mainstream conservative Republicans—whatever their fiscal rhetoric—have long favored the soft socialism of big defense spending. It's masked because the money goes to private defense contractors, so the guy in Wichita who makes a widget that goes on a helicopter doesn't really see himself as being on the government dole. The idea of using the government to prop up economic demand works when it comes to the defense sector, apparently, but for everybody else it's free markets, Ayn Rand, and gruel.

1 comment:

deregulator said...

Yes, there are weak spots among hawks of all ideological stripes (not just those on the right) to pump up military spending for its own sake. But you paint with too broad a brush. Mainstream conservative Republicans from Barry Goldwater to John McCain to Larry Korb have railed against defense contracting overruns for decades.