I’m no military expert. But I do know bad spending habits when I sees ’em, and Congress has ’em. And a lot of what they’re spending badly has to do with the military and our national defense. If we want to have the best possible protection against foreign aggression, we need to talk not only about military reform but also about congressional reform.
President Eisenhower used to talk about a “military-industrial complex.” In a new book on Arms, Politics and the National Economy, editor Robert Higgs says that a better name for this establishment would be “military-industrial-congressional complex.”
Higgs says the U.S. is well prepared to fight conventional battles, but that we’ve been behind the curve when it comes to combating a threat like terrorism. The U.S. is the world leader in defense spending. But the problem is not really too much or too little spending as such, but how the money gets allocated. In other words, the problem is politics. Take the issue of base closings, for instance.
You’d think that if military leaders agree that this or that military base is no longer necessary, Congress would rush to close it. So the money can be better spent elsewhere. Instead, congressmen often act as if the point of the base was to provide employment to voters in their district, not to defend the country.
Even when all that was involved was just robbing poor taxpayers, deciding defense issues on the basis of personal politics was wrong. Today it is a matter of life and death. It’s been said, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” Let’s add, “Don’t pass the pork!”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.