Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Other Economies

Not only have American taxpayers been subsidizing their own upper classes for a while now, but, as Jay Bookman at the AJC reminds us, we've been subsidizing a lot of other nations' whole economies, too.

Specifically, America spends a lot of money on defense so Europe doesn't have to.

And, yes, we'll loan friendly foreign powers money and encourage them to buy our old weapons and technology. Yes, this creates a few jobs here and there (and a lot of very wealthy defense contractors). But has anyone really done an intellectually robust, cost-benefit analysis of this relationship?

I think about this when I hear folks talk about how awesome social programs and transit and infrastructure are in Europe. I think about it when I hear folks telling me how competitive those economies are compared to our own. It all comes down to priorities, they explain.

But how would those priorities have changed if those nations didn't have the American people subsidizing their national security?

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1 comment:

Dante said...

I have two gut reactions when considering this topic:

1. We set up an entitlement program for Europe's defense. Good luck getting someone off of an entitlement program.

2. To paraphrase Billy Joel, the US had to be a big shot, didn't they? We loved being the good guys in the Cold War. We liked more or less running NATO. We liked that our side of Germany was the prosperous one. We liked that we could outpace the evil empire's military capacity. The military spending was national vanity to an extent. Some societies built pyramids. We built ICBMs.

I think military spending is going to have to give in the near future. Five years ago when I told fellow conservatives I thought we were spending too much on national defense, they'd have a coronary. These days, they begrudgingly agree. It won't be long before they're giving me an oh-hell-yeah high five over it.

I think we're still a little afraid as a nation that we'll pull a Superman II if we tone down the super powers, but I just don't see a General Zod hanging around. And to be honest if we try to kick some trucker's ass just for sitting in our seat and flirting with our dog-ass ugly girlfriend*, then maybe the answer isn't getting our super powers back and then rushing back to the diner to show him up later in the movie. Maybe we just learn that living without the Superman cape means not being a dick just because someone was a dick to you first.

At any rate, let's just step into the chamber with the green crystal, drop the whole Super thing, and live the rest of our existence as a pretty built dude who could easily still pick up chicks hotter than Margot Kidder at any given time even if he can't hammer a six-inch spike through a board with his penis anymore.**

* Ursa was right. He can do a lot better.

** Sorry for switching movies on you there.