Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh Noes, don't "gut" the military!

I hope we aren't all too busy immersing ourselves in the lastest GOP candidate scuttlebutt to notice our political class's latest demonstration of budget shell games.

It started (or at least this phase of the shell game started) over the weekend in the form of the Wash Post's front page, above the fold, report complaining about how after two decades of annual hundred billion dollar surpluses from the Social Security Trust Fund, those trillions of dollars borrowed by the federal budget, are now coming due. Yes, dear media elite, the party's over. No more Social Security Trust Funds to fund your tax cuts and war budgets with.

It continues today with the lament by Robert Samuelson in the Post's op-ed section that, horrors, with all this budgetdebtdeficitspending talk in the past year, the country is in real danger of actually cutting spending....on the military. Although the Cold War ended two decades ago, the U.S. still spends more on war than any of other nation by exponential amounts.

Nevertheless, our pundit class is wringing its hands that all the debtdeficit hype it manufactured last year will potentially result in some possible reductions to the one area of the government it supports: the war establishment.

Here's Samuelson's first 'graph today: (sorry, no linky)

We shouldn’t gut defense. A central question of our budget debates is how much we allow growing spending on social programs to crowd out the military and, in effect, force the United States into a dangerous, slow-motion disarmament.

Get that? Cutting war spending is the same as "gutting" our war-making capabilities. The problem, says our pundit spokesperson, is "growing spending on social programs" that will "crowd out the military".

I see. What the debt howlers meant last year when they were fanning the flames of debtdeficit hysteria was Social Security and Medicare (and Medicaid). Well, they should have said so. At least now this key policy priority is coming into focus.

Samuelson goes on to "refute" what he believes to be a myth of war spending, that we can't afford it. Sure we can, Samuelson says, it's just all about choices.

Well then, how about we make the choice to spend more on our growing population of aged people? We can do that just as easily as we can make the "choice" to continue bloated war budgets and continue wars in faraway places.

Also, as just an aside, can we dispense with the frame of calling America's military spending, "defense" spending? It's war spending. We aren't "defending" the American homeland with any of this.

Our media really is so transparent. #OccupytheWashingtonPost.