Benjamin H. Friedman

Romney's Other 47% Problem

A fixture of the presidential race has been Mitt Romney's 47% problem: Those Americans who don't pay federal income tax that Romney has described as freeloaders. Of course, Romney has retracted his remark. But if he still wants to attack those who freeload off of U.S. taxpayers, there is a better target: Our wealthy overseas allies.

The New Pentagon Budget: Better, but Not Great

The changes announced in the Pentagon’s new budget guidance are, from my perspective, mostly good news, but woefully insufficient. They show how even limited austerity encourages prioritization among weapons systems that suddenly have to compete. A few more budgets like this and we’ll be getting somewhere.

Too Much Ado about the Pentagon’s New Strategy

There’s more to the Pentagon’s new strategy than the emperor’s new clothes, but barely. It’s hardly new and not particularly strategic.

Make-Believe Defense Cuts

Earlier this week, the House Armed Services Committee Republican staff released a video using the anniversary of September 11 to argue for higher military spending while pretending that lately we have cut the defense budget. Chris Preble and I rebutted these outlandish claims, and Evan Banks made our comments into a cool video:

Fights Over Military Spending Next

The legislation signed by President Obama on Tuesday, as a solution to the debt ceiling debate, includes the possibility of cuts to military spending. But as Chris Preble points out, the legislation guarantees no defense cuts. Republicans will try to dump all the required cuts on non-defense areas. And the White House has already distanced itself from the prospect of any real defense budget cuts, as did Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Both support only the first round of cuts, which will at best halt Pentagon growth at roughly inflation.

Weak Defense of Homeland Security Grants

Last week, the House passed a homeland security appropriations bill slashing funding for grants to states and localities. The New York Times has now noticed and unleashed an indignant editorial:

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