Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Over at the Global Economic Anaysis blog, as usual, Mish is talking sense. As usual, no one is going to listen.
When I was a boy, and TV was new, there was a perfume commercial that has stayed in my mind. The words went, “Promise her anything, but give here Arpege.” Change only the last word in that ad, and you have the Republican policy. The only problem is that last word. I was thinking that the Neutralist might have resort to a word that should be avoided in polite company. We have settled on mush. Suffice it to say the Republicans are promising stuff they can’t deliver.
You remember the old headline from the Boston Globe, “Mush from the Wimp” to describe some policy of the hapless Carter administration. Okay, maybe you don’t. Lucky you. For the purpose of this discussion, let us settle on a definition of Mush as some rearrangement, but no real change. That Mr. Ryan is being villified as a scrooge is what might be expected from the Dems, but, not much will change.
The two paragraphs from Mish below say it all,
Mr. Ryan (R., Wis.), who heads the House Budget Committee, said his plan would put the U.S. on a sound economic path by spending $5.3 trillion less than Mr. Obama recommends over 10 years, resulting in a budget deficit that would be $3.3 trillion narrower.
Let's pause right there for a second. The deficit is about $1.4 trillion. If the US lapses back into a recession at any time, (something I think is highly likely) it will worsen. Cutting $5.3 trillion over 10 years, is $530 billion a year, still leaving deficit spending at $900 billion a year, not counting the odds of a recession.
Let's continue with a few more snips ...
Congressional budgets by nature lack specifics—those are provided in spending bills that come later—and this one was no different. Still, Mr. Ryan made some things clear. Most dramatically, he proposed repealing Mr. Obama's health law.
Yup, ending the healthcare law would be a dent, but even so, it would be little more than a tonsilectomy in the greater picture.
The Neutralist is more concerned with the point Mish made about the defense budget. House Republican budget supremo, Rep. Paul Ryan is reneging on a deal to cut $55 billion from defense. Now this is an amount Mish accurately describes as “measly.” We are drowning in a defense budget that is bloated enough to cause trouble in the world, but is not helping to defend the nation.
The Neutralist has not read the debate or proposals in depth. What never seems to come up is the proper force structure of our military.
The second part of Mish’s article is about Mitt Romney’s defense plans. Now Mitt does have some ideas about force structure. From what I have heard in debates and from the campaign, the Mittster’s ideas are the military needs everything and more. Mish’s words, “When it comes to the American military, the leading Republican presidential candidates evidently only learned to add and multiply, never subtract or divide.”
The administration is planning some tiny cuts after years and years of growth. Mitt “has staked out the “high ground” in the latest round of Republican math with a proposal to set Pentagon spending at 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That would, in fact add up to an astonishing $8.3 trillion dollars over the next decade, one-third more than current, already bloated Pentagon plans” according to Mish’s article.
This will certainly allay the fears of management at Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing who are always worried where the next meal is coming from, not. And what will those of us who are not stockholders in defense contractors get for all this largesse? Taxes and/or deficits one would guess.
Missle defense against the non-existent Korean threat, big winner. Nine to fifteen more ships for the navy each year. Sadly, what Mitt and just about everyone seems to forget, the naval threat to homeland ended in 1942 at Midway. There has been no carrier fleet since then that could challenge ours. The Soviets built a credible submarine force, but it probably was not enough against all our ships and subs, though themissles might have burnt some cities. So, just what are we defending against?
Again, the question is, what is the proper defense structure to defend the United States, as opposed to projecting power everywhere simultaneouly? Calling Obama weak just because he does not throw money at the military is absurd.
Mish posits that the result of the Romney spending orgy will be two wars,
1. A war with Iran
2 A trade war with China.
This spending should forestall an invasion from either entity.
I consider myself a low tax type of guy. The idea that high spending and high taxes can lead to prosperity does not work. Neither does low taxes and high spending. Making the Pentagon an entitled welfare case in either scenario is hardly the road to fiscal sanity.
After a decade of throwing money at defense, we have little to show for it. Some folks say the country is war weary. Can anybody not be cynical about Romney’s campaign promises? Whoever is Mitt’s real constituency, Mr. and Mrs. Average American, it ain’t you, Babe.