The Defense Industry: The Albatross Hanging From the Neck of America’s Economy

Cross-posted from Other Words.

India has the military-industrial complex all figured out. So does Saudi Arabia. Neither of them has one. Who needs to build weapons when you can simply buy them at a discount elsewhere? Not that anyone really needs so many weapons anyway, but it’s still a lot cheaper to tap the competitive arms market for a few specific items than to build a massive infrastructure to keep churning out whole arsenals for yourself.

So God bless the Indians and the Saudis. They’re smarter than we. We can’t stop cranking out aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, bombers, tanks, aerial refuelers, phosphorous bombs, nuclear devices, rockets, and other must-have military consumer goods that are driving us to the poorhouse. It’s a lot like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. We don’t know how to stop.

Up until now this was not a big worry. Weapons manufacturers have historically pulled a lot of strings in Congress, and there are usually plenty of votes that can be traded to protect every state’s pet products. But now signs of nervousness are showing up at the edges of the debate. Those crazy Republicans brought the nation to the edge of default. No one thinks the GOP gives a fig about either default or excessive military spending, but in their posturing Republican lawmakers may have unleashed something they can’t control.

Read the rest at Other Words.