The House approved a defense bill Friday that calls for the construction of a missile defense shield along the east coast, presumably to protect us from the hotbed of nuclear confrontation that is Western Europe. After Republican lawmakers spent months claiming to be champions of cutting wasteful spending, they now decide to plunk down billions of dollars on military spending to prevent the next British invasion or to quell French aggression. And 77 Democrats in the House drank the Kool-Aid too.
Over fifty years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican with a distinguished military career, warned of the powerful Military-Industrial Complex. We saw the excesses of that close symbiotic relationship during the past decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, which created most of the massive debt we’re currently trying to tackle. Now that we’ve stopped warmongering, the military subcontractors and aerospace companies are having to stir up sales by pushing unnecessary programs through Congress. These are programs that only made sense in the Cold War, and even then they didn’t make enough sense to actually be enacted.
On a related note, I have little confidence that the sequester planned for military spending in the aftermath of last year’s failed Supercommittee will actually happen. Congress has the power to alter the sequestration and will likely eliminate the cuts to the military while pushing the burden of budget cuts on programs that impact the poor and middle class. They’re too spineless to stand up to their campaign financiers and lobbyist buddies in the defense industry. It’s sad that one industry can have such a strong leash on our elected officials.