It is no surprise that the defense contractors want to protect their profits by getting taxpayers to pony up more money.
Two months ago, Cato published a study by economist Benjamin Zycher, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, that showed that military spending contributes very little to GDP growth, and concludes that cuts would have very little long-term impact on GDP. On the contrary, Zycher estimates that cuts on the order of $100 billion a year would reduce costs in the wider economy by $135 billion per year. I wrote about that study when it was published here.
The Romney campaign is airing a television ad in Florida, and similar ads in other states, accusing President Obama of pushing “defense cuts” that “threaten thousands of jobs.”
Over the weekend, the Washington Post published a lengthy story by Dana Priest on plans to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal. It is difficult to comprehend the strategic rationale for the nation’s nuclear arsenal and force structure, and politics and parochialism (especially the jobs associated with the various nuclear labs) add a further layer of complexity.
I have a new piece up at ForeignPolicy.com this morning, commenting on the GOP’s apparent confusion about government spending and the effects that such spending has on others.
Cato has just released a new video, titled “The Truth about Sequestration,” that tells the real story about sequestration, the automatic budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act.
This week, likely on Wednesday, the full House of Representatives will take up the defense appropriations bill passed out of the Armed Services Committee in May.
On Sunday, Defense News published a good article by Kate Brannen that looks into Mitt Romney’s plans for military spending. This is not the first examination of Romney’s lofty campaign promise to spend at least four percent of GDP on the Pentagon’s base budget. Since October 2011, when I first crunched the numbers on his plan, others have followed with their own estimates.
According to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): President Obama’s “trip to Afghanistan is an attempt to shore up his national security credentials, because he has spent the past three years gutting our military.”
As has become an annual tradition, my colleague Charles Zakaib has sifted through the data from the latest edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ The Military Balance, and created several illuminating charts. They are enclosed below and show U.S. security spending as a share of the global total, U.S. per capita spending as compared with some of our leading allies, and U.S. spending vs. the rest of NATO as a share of GDP.