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I'm SO awesome!
06-29-2009, 04:10 PM
Hey! I think we've set the mark for "Dumbest Country Ever":
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/06/part-i-mother-jones-special-report-defense-budget

this excellent series of articles is explaining how the giant make-work program we call the "military" wastes....get this....more money just in the defense budget alone than entire GDP of many reasonably sized industrialized countries. gee...where are we gonna get that extra money for health care? hmm.....

bjkeefe
06-29-2009, 04:21 PM
Hey! I think we've set the mark for "Dumbest Country Ever":
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/06/part-i-mother-jones-special-report-defense-budget

this excellent series of articles is explaining how the giant make-work program we call the "military" wastes....get this....more money just in the defense budget alone than entire GDP of many reasonably sized industrialized countries. gee...where are we gonna get that extra money for health care? hmm.....

On a related note, in case you haven't already seen it (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=117990#post117990) ...

Thanks for the link. I'll have to read the articles when my head is less sore from recent episodes of banging it against my desk.

pampl
06-29-2009, 04:57 PM
On a related note, in case you haven't already seen it (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=117990#post117990) ...

Thanks for the link. I'll have to read the articles when my head is less sore from recent episodes of banging it against my desk.

Thanks. I like listening to Frank. I think he overlooked part of the politics of it though; it isn't just that defense spending is a politically attractive way of creating jobs, but also that the military deliberately buys parts from EVERYWHERE in the country so that any defense spending will send money home to everyone's district or state. If you invest money in something like scholarships for new doctors, on the other hand, it will mostly go to a few high-population areas with good schools, which hurts it in the Senate. Health care spending would do better if we could set up medical schools in the Ozarks and the Deep South. They'd probably have to include faith healing in the curriculum but hey, compromise is the heart of politics.

Worrying about the nominal amount of spending strikes me as pretty short sighted though. The US has a very high measured GDP, about 1/5 the world's total, so any significant fraction of that will look large. Tomorrow you could easily hear GOP operatives talking about how liberals want to spend more on socialistic healthcare than do China and India combined or some such.

I'm SO awesome!
06-29-2009, 04:59 PM
Very nice audio clip. Thanks! Why do I get the feeling that the evil side will get their way??

bjkeefe
06-29-2009, 05:43 PM
Thanks. I like listening to Frank. I think he overlooked part of the politics of it though; it isn't just that defense spending is a politically attractive way of creating jobs, but also that the military deliberately buys parts from EVERYWHERE in the country so that any defense spending will send money home to everyone's district or state.

Quite right, and that's a point that can't be stated often enough.

In Frank's defense, I expect that he did not want to complicate his diatribe in this instance -- it seems clear his goal in this teleconference was to take the GOP to task for this particular program (the F-22), and not to let it diffuse into a general military-industrial complex rant (partly since pretty much everyone on his side of the aisle would then also be tarred). I think he wants to emphasize that stupid spending is what he's objecting to (which is parallel to the Obama/Gates line).

If you invest money in something like scholarships for new doctors, on the other hand, it will mostly go to a few high-population areas with good schools, which hurts it in the Senate. Health care spending would do better if we could set up medical schools in the Ozarks and the Deep South. They'd probably have to include faith healing in the curriculum but hey, compromise is the heart of politics.

Heh. Kidding aside, there's probably something to that idea.

Worrying about the nominal amount of spending strikes me as pretty short sighted though. The US has a very high measured GDP, about 1/5 the world's total, so any significant fraction of that will look large. Tomorrow you could easily hear GOP operatives talking about how liberals want to spend more on socialistic healthcare than do China and India combined or some such.

I don't completely disagree, but I mostly do. Compare, for example, the US's defense spending anyway you like (absolute dollars, fraction of GDP, fraction of annual budget, etc.) to, say, the EU, or to all of our "enemies" combined, or the whole world, and it's still wildly disproportionate, and it dwarfs what the Democrat Socialist Party of Obama wants to spend on reforming health care.

Also, part of the argument for reforming health care in the first place is that we spend more for the same results, compared to other advanced nations. Which ties in to the argument Barney Frank is trying to make about the F-22 -- it's not so much the spending, it's the wasteful spending. But recalling Frank reminds me that I started by praising him for keeping his thoughts focused, so I better close here.

pampl
06-29-2009, 07:17 PM
I don't completely disagree, but I mostly do. Compare, for example, the US's defense spending anyway you like (absolute dollars, fraction of GDP, fraction of annual budget, etc.) to, say, the EU, or to all of our "enemies" combined, or the whole world, and it's still wildly disproportionate, and it dwarfs what the Democrat Socialist Party of Obama wants to spend on reforming health care.

As a fraction of GDP it's #27 in the world, far behind NK, behind almost all the middle east, and about equal to Russia.* (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures) It's ~50% more than most of NATO (not counting Turkey), which is part of why the US is usually said to be subsidizing the defense of Western Europe. That's probably too much spending, but not "wildly disproportionate".

*That chart doesn't list NK's military spending for some reason, but it's estimated at 20% of GDP IIRC or about 2-3x the middle eastern countries and 5x the US/Russia.

bjkeefe
06-29-2009, 07:54 PM
As a fraction of GDP it's #27 in the world, far behind NK, behind almost all the middle east, and about equal to Russia.* (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures) It's ~50% more than most of NATO (not counting Turkey), which is part of why the US is usually said to be subsidizing the defense of Western Europe. That's probably too much spending, but not "wildly disproportionate".

*That chart doesn't list NK's military spending for some reason, but it's estimated at 20% of GDP IIRC or about 2-3x the middle eastern countries and 5x the US/Russia.

Huh. I did not know that.

Still, just in absolute dollar terms, I gotta think we would be better off with some significant cuts. I'd rather be paying engineers to build stuff I'd hope we'd use.

[Added] Also, I suppose that I could quibble about a lot of those other countries probably using their military where the US would, say, have police departments and other jobs that aren't, in the US, counted as part of military spending.

uncle ebeneezer
06-29-2009, 08:19 PM
And aren't there significant starvation problems in NK? Their fiscal priorities wouldn't seem to be ones we should aspire to.