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Le cinque regole del Pentagono
- Subject: Le cinque regole del Pentagono
- From: rossana <rossana at comodinoposta.org>
- Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2008 20:02:44 +0100
- User-agent: Thunderbird 184.108.40.206 (Windows/20080914)
Sì c'è il crollo della rivoluzione cominciata con Reagan, ma.... ma la
quinta regola dice che la spesa militare stimola l'economia.
Siamo alle solite.
Five Reasons Weapons Spending Won't Fall
The Reagan Revolution has collapsed. Over the next eight years a
resurgent Democratic Party will raise taxes, re-regulate the economy and
rethink free trade. Judging from the size of the nation's trade and
budget deficits, these steps are overdue. But what about that other
pillar of the Reagan agenda, national defense? Is it destined to suffer
the same kind of decline seen under Carter and Clinton? Probably not,
because both the Democrats and the times are different. In fact, there
are at least five reasons why spending on weapons -- as opposed to
operations and personnel -- might not decline at all.
First, economic forces don't drive defense spending. Demand for defense
goods is driven mainly by overseas threats and domestic politics.
Military spending always spikes when threats arise, regardless of
economic or fiscal conditions. Domestic politics -- which party controls
Congress and the White House -- also influences the scale and
composition of defense spending, but threats usually trump politics.
That's why Democrats presided over four of the five big weapons buildups
in the last century.
Second, spending on operations and personnel will moderate. With the
Iraq war winding down and Afghanistan claiming only a modest share of
defense outlays, the cost of military operations is likely to ease. As
operational tempo declines it will become apparent that the nation
doesn't really need more ground troops, just better training and
utilization of the ones it already has. So there will be greater
downward pressure on readiness accounts than weapons accounts,
especially given the need to replace worn-out combat systems.
Third, it takes a long time to change military spending priorities. The
Pentagon is already putting the finishing touches on a fiscal 2010
budget request that will drive military spending for the rest of the
decade. New administrations take the better part of a year to get
staffed, and once appointees are confirmed they need to get up to speed
on programs. One thing they find out pretty fast is that the business
plans for big weapons programs like the Joint Strike Fighter are so
tightly wound that any changes increase costs. So it will take years to
adjust current weapons plans.
Fourth, weapons programs will be fiercely defended. Big weapons programs
generate so many jobs that they spawn potent political constituencies.
Look at what happened this year when the Pentagon tried to kill its
next-generation destroyer and a second engine for the Joint Strike
Fighter. Both initiatives were blocked by members of Congress. The
military services are just as tenacious in defending signature weapons.
Is President Obama really going to get in a fight with the Army over
whether it needs the Future Combat Systems?
Fifth, weapons spending stimulates the economy. Critics of weapons
spending have long argued that it is a drag on the economy, but the
exact opposite is true. When the government cuts taxes, many consumers
use the money to buy products from overseas. But when it funds weapons
programs, almost all the money gets spent in places like Colorado, Ohio
and Virginia. And guess who does the work? Members of organized labor
who are a core component of the Democratic electoral base!
If the new administration wants to sustain high-paying jobs, stimulate
high-tech skills, and bolster American manufacturing, spending money on
weapons works amazingly well. It even improves our sagging balance of trade.