Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Keynesian sinecure is a healthy man’s crutch

With equality overrunning winning in its leaders’ minds, America as a military power is surely in decline. Don’t panic, it was going to happen at some point. It is the way of all earthly things. The military looks more like a bloated jobs and benefits program than a force to project power in the national interest. It advertises itself as such, what with professional training and college subsidies saturating its recruiting materials.

This also is probably true:

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel has a warning for San Antonio and other cities which are trying to protect their military bases, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Hegel, who stepped down as head of the Pentagon earlier this year, told the Trinity Policymaker Breakfast, that the U.S. has a huge excess of military bases infrastructure.

“We are carrying at least 25% overhead that we don't need,” Hegel said. “For our defense requirements and the security of the United States, that we don’t need.”

The next Base Closing and Realignment Commission is expected to be appointed in early 2017 to examine domestic U.S. military facilities and recommend closures.

Hegel says the U.S. cannot afford to keep redundant and unnecessary bases operating, just because they boost a community's economy.

“Every dollar that is being applied to overhead that we don’t need, facilities, bases, people, that's a dollar taken away from our legitimate security requirements,” Hegel said.

It’s logical to adapt to changing realities and priorities. Lobbying the government to keep military bases open past their usefulness and to keep the local workforce busy in unproductive work is classic rent-seeking, a symptom of economic decline. Cities expending human capital to secure waning Defense budget contracts epitomizes the failure of demand-side economics when resources are limited, which is to say, all the time.

Socialism fails because it coddles failing enterprise when people should be adapting to the market. If and/or when the San Antonio bases close, thousands of people will be put out of work. But “stress is the fertilizer of creativity,” Jon Voigt’s character said in 24. The closures will bring out the best of what each laid off man and woman has to offer. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. After World War II, the wartime economy laid off millions of people, and the post-war economy boomed as they applied their skills to serve their fellow man, instead of serve the nation in the war effort. However noble that service was, it did not lift up man like capitalism does.

But that’s not why the Keynesian economic establishment wants to scale down the military by 25 percent today. They want to because in the age of “sequestration” and other apocalyptic budget-balancing efforts, they have higher priorities. Since government sets demand, bureaucrats decide where money should go, which areas of the economy to “stimulate.” Inevitably it flows in accord with bureaucrats’ fancy, which may not be military at all, or may be military projects they have a personal stake in (e.g., in their home states).

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