DFH’s are not alone: Some video on the madness of current defense spending

Benjamin Friedman is no one’s idea of a wild-eyed hippie naif.

He is, rather, a Ph.D candidate at MIT’s Political Science Department and a research fellow at that well known bastion of tie-dye and patchouli, the Cato Institute.

Money fact: as Friedman totes up current defense spending  including all the bits up to the share of interest on the debt that can be attributed to deficit spending on the military, he finds that we get almost no change out of a trillion dollars each year. (Contrast that with estimates of the cost of health care reform that come in at about 940 billion over ten years, and is projected to reduce the deficit over that period.)

The edited version of Friedman’s is 23 minutes long, and there is no requirement that you agree with the whole analysis.

(I think he dismisses security interests in Asia a bit cavalierly, myself — not in that I disagree that it’s odd we still have major bases and commitments in Japan, but that it seems to me a more difficult process to extract from that north Asian series of commitments than it would be to do so from a Europe that no longer divides along the inner-German border.)

But that said, Friedman makes a coherent and to-me pretty obvious argument that we are spending way too much on the military.  He offers a good story as to why — where the different pressures to maintain that cost trajectory.  (If ever there was a case for “bending the curve” it comes here.)*He also came up with a pithy answer as to why that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Money quote, from political scientist Ronald Dahl:

“In a dictatorship, a minority rules. In a democracy, minorities rule.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

*One note:  Friedman points to an increase in the expansion of benefits and the cost of health care for active duty members of the armed services and for retirees as one of the (smaller, I think) drivers of military budget growth over the last decade.  He doesn’t separate out the specific cost of care attributable to the wars.  But the point is, of course, that getting medical care cost under control is as many have noted, a national security issue as well as a moral and social one.

more about “DFH’s are not alone: Some video on t…“, posted with vodpod
Explore posts in the same categories: Decline and Fall, Military Follies, MIT, Policy, political follies, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

One Comment on “DFH’s are not alone: Some video on the madness of current defense spending”

  1. Ted K Says:

    I’m not against any American bases anywhere. Americans are very insulated in some aspects. Frankly they don’t get how dangerous the world is out there. I was in China for shall we say a “significant period” of time. When I was friends with a Chinese after some time they would realize that they could speak with me frankly about America (mainly because I never hid the fact I was ashamed to call “W” Bush my President). I never got angry when they bad-mouthed America, whether what they said was blatantly false or whether it had some degree of truth in it, it didn’t phase me too much.

    I had a female friend there. She was studying at a very good 4 year teachers’ university. What used to be called many many years ago a Normal School. In other words the young adults who attended there were the better students from the countryside and better educated than most Chinese. She told me when 9-11 occurred and it was announced you could hear audible cheering throughout the dorms. Audible cheering like at a sporting event after a score. Get it???

    NEWS FLASH FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN TEXTBOOKS AND POORLY WRITTEN MAGS AND NEWSPAPERS: IN ALL THE SHITTY COUNTRIES, WHEN THEY HAVE PROBS, AMERICA IS THE STEAM VALVE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO BLAME. MANY PEOPLE HATE US AND WILL CONTINUE TO HATE US FOR DECADES. GET USED TO IT.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: