For the first time in a decade, significant cuts in projected military spending are on the table. If the "Super Congress" doesn't reach a deal on $1.2 trillion in debt reduction over the next ten years by Thanksgiving, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will be triggered, half of which must come from the military; and if the Super Congress does reach a deal, the prospects are good that cuts in projected military spending will be a significant part of the story (you can add your voice for cuts in projected military spending here.)
Obviously, however, the prospect of significant military cuts has well-heeled opponents. The military-industrial-Congressional-lobbyist-think tank-corporate media complex is not just going to roll over and play dead. In the next three months, we can expect a steady stream of pro-military spending propaganda. Expect to hear a lot about China, Iran, North Korea, and "global terrorism" as the beneficiaries of the military-industrial complex try to justify why we must continue to spend much more on the military than we did while opposing the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
But another argument against cuts to projected military spending is sure to rear its ugly head: we shouldn't cut military spending, because that would cost American jobs.
In the current political context, this "jobs" argument is 100% nonsense. Here's why.
The (first-order) Keynesian economics story for government spending to boost employment has three basic elements:
1. The economy is not always at full employment. Sometimes, there are a significant number of people who are "involuntarily unemployed" - they would like to work for the prevailing wage but cannot find a job.
The Senate and the Roman People have declared that the U.S. government is spending too much money. We have to live within our means. Difficult choices lie ahead. We can't do everything anyone might like us to do. Everything is on the table.
Therefore, instead of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq past December, we should pull them out like we promised. If not now, when? John McCain once said there's no problem with keeping U.S. troops in Iraq forever, just like we do in Germany, Japan, and South Korea. How liberals mocked him! But that's what the Obama Administration is now trying to do: keep US troops in Iraq forever.
Some Members of Congress have a different idea: let's leave Iraq like we promised in the signed agreement between the two governments.
Representative Barbara Lee has introduced legislation that would prevent the Pentagon from keeping thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq by cutting off funds for the war after December 31, 2011. In other words, the bill would cut off funds for violating the agreement with Iraq to pull out troops by December. It would cut off funds for violating Obama's campaign promise to end the war.
The Pentagon doesn't want you to notice that at the same time Washington is seized with debt hysteria, and the nation's mainstream media are demanding cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits on the preposterous claim that "we can no longer afford it," the Pentagon is laying plans to keep 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq forever. They call these troops "trainers," so we are not supposed to notice. But these "trainers" engage in combat: they kill Iraqis, and they get killed by Iraqis.