Military Keynesianism

Keynesianism, an economic theory developed by the British economist John Maynard Keynes during the 1930s. In an attempt to pull countries out of the great depression Keynes advocated for increased government expenditure and lower taxes to stimulate demand.

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In my brain this seems like a poor return on investment #justsaying

 

What is the purpose of the US military… I mean most organizations have a role to play…

  1. Is it a defense force for the continental United States and a protector of the off-shore assets of the US? (if so one could argue it is massively over-funded)
  2.  Is it the worlds policeman, protecting the weak against tyranny and oppression? Since there is no real mandate for this… it could likely be construed as a self imposed vocation…even if this was true… why would you want this thankless job?
  3. Is in the business end of a hawkish foreign policy cosh meant to bludgeon dissenters and intimidate nation states into towing the line…
  4. Is it a creator of jobs and wealth? Both through the personal that serve in his ranks AND perhaps (more importantly) in the myriads of industries that support the military through manufacturing and logistics etc.
  5.  Or, maybe, I suppose it could be all of the above?

Recently the US Army told congress, ‘We DON’T want anymore tanks… seriously… we don’t know what do with with them… in fact the ones that you’re making for us are coming off the assembly line and getting parked in a warehouse and covered with tarps’. Okay… I’m paraphrasing, but this was the gist of an otherwise overly wordy statement.

You would think that congress would listen to its military leaders and maybe cut down on the manufacture of tanks. Only Congress allocated an additional 120 million dollars to upgrade the ubiquitous M1… saying the tank fleet represented an important strategic element to the nations defense. Much to the chagrin of the military generals who want to use that money for something more useful (you know… because tank battles are so 1944).

But tanks get built in congregational districts that employ… (actually a tiny minority) of the voters there. If you cut back on tanks, you might cut back on jobs in those districts and potentially that congressman or woman is out of a job next election. Wait… so you’re using tax payers money to build something no one wants so that you prop up a noncompetitive industry and keep your job? Isn’t that unethical? Well in the very least it smacks of some serious socialism. You know the supposed kryptonite of free market capitalism (the thing you’re supposed to be into).

Also, if the M1 Tank represents such an important strategic element… how come it gets sold to pretty much ANYONE with capacity to buy them… You know like countries with… questionable human rights concerns, like Egypt (co-invader of your ally Israel during the Yom Kippur) who have bought 1005 M1’s. And everyone’s favorite bone saw aficionado  Saudi Arabia who have bought 373… plus a whole bunch of other higher end stuff. Giving your tech away seems super un-strategic to me.

In any event. The industrial military complex is so enmeshed into the economy of the United States you can’t just rip it out without seriously injuring the patient. That… and in an insightful ideological coup anyone who criticises the military or indeed military spending is labelled unpatriotic… which obviously makes any reasoned or logical debate very difficult. (especially for some in public office)

While I’m picking on the United States government this likely true for most countries where an inordinate amount of money is spent on the ‘defence’ of that country… where it could likely could be better spent on stuff that actually benefits the majority of the citizenry. Because I’m a libertarian, for me that would mean paying less taxes. But for other people that could mean schools, libraries and health care. But thats a different debate for another time.

Killing people in other countries only ever benefits a tiny minority, but yet is rarely an issue that taxpayers take umbrage with…

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