By now, you have probably heard about Secretary of Defense Gates’ proposed cuts in the Defense Department budget. If you haven’t go here: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0903_defense_budget_ohanlon.aspx
Now generally, I’m all in favor of cutting the Pentagon budget—military/industrial complex and all that stuff. But, this time I think the administration is nuts. We’ve got 9.6% unemployment. The economy is still struggling. What we need at this moment is MORE government spending, not less. Anyone with any sense knows that we need a second stimulus. We also know that the Repubs are going to fight everything but tax cuts for the rich claiming their horror at the growing deficit.
So, what does this have to do with the DOD cuts? Just this. Repubs aren’t going to agree to any domestic spending for education, infrastructure, the environment or what have you. Zip, zero, none. But, now spending on defense, that’s another matter.
Suppose Obama came out with not a DOD cut but a DOD spending binge? New boats, planes, trucks, uniforms, technology, anything and everything the Generals and Admirals can think of to buy as long as it is something that can be built and bought in the next couple of years and require hiring people to get the job done. Let’s don’t cut defense contractors, let’s double the number over the next two years. Think about all the defense contractors and consultants out there that would be dancing a gig in the streets. And, let’s spread the money around. Let’s make sure some businesses-preferably some small business—Repubs love small businesses particularly those where the owner makes over $250,000 per year in taxable income—in every state and Congressional District gets some of the DOD dough. Let’s make sure a lot of DOD money flows into those small businesses over the next two years. Instead of closing bases, let’s open some old ones and fix up the ones that are still open, new paint, new furnishings, new computers, etc. etc. etc. If we turned the DOD folks lose to be creative—along with the DOD suppliers—I bet we could find $800 billion of absolutely necessary DOD spending we could get out the door in the next 18 months, deficit be damned.
Let’s see the Repubs and Tea Party folks yell and scream about giving our guys and gals in uniform some extra stuff. I love to see Saxby and Johnny here in GA yelling and screaming that the military bases that have been closed shouldn’t be reopened and that Lockheed Martin, the Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics (Gulfstream), Raytheon, BAE Systems, United Technologies (Pratt & Whitney), L-3 Communications, and all those other defense contractors big and small with operations in Georgia shouldn’t get any extra business thrown their way. That would be a sight to see. But, it wouldn’t happen. And, it wouldn’t happen in any other state that gets DOD bucks. Repubs might be able to object to spending on education but they could never object to spending on war stuff. If they did, all Obama and the Democrats would have to do in wrap themselves in the nearest Stars and Stripes.