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A great mistake that Republicans make and about which Democrats are no better

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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:44 PM
Original message
A great mistake that Republicans make and about which Democrats are no better
Here is the Republican version: Public spending during the Great Depression did not stimulate the economy and if it didn't work then it won't work now.

Here is the Democratic version: Spending on the Military goes far beyond our needs and should be cut considerably.

And here is the problem, Republicans won't admit that not only was recovery slowly taking place because of the social spending in the mid to late 30's believing it was only the greatly increased Government spending for the war that rushed the economy to relative prosperity. And Democrats don't seem to understand that it is the very same massive Government military spending that has been replenished annually ever since Eisenhower was in office that sustains our base-load economy. You cut that spending off and the stimulus becomes meaningless in the face of the layoffs all across the nation that would quickly follow.

So its a draw, they won't recognize the value of social spending and we won't admit the value of military spending.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very true. The US military is a great educational institution, actually. nt
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. How much of the military budget goes to the, uh, 'workers'
so to speak.

What percentage is bloated waste on R&D, weapons, contractors etc

:shrug:
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Clear Blue Sky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. But most of the R&D, weapons, contractors, etc
are American workers who pay taxes and contribute to the economy.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. Just as with NASA's budget...
nearly all the money is spent here, with the exception of what we're paying the Iraqis and such.

Unlike most foreign-outsourced consumer goods these days, most military hardware is made in American factories by American (usually union) workers.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think we recognize the military economy quite well
We just believe it would be more beneficial to society if all that money were in innovation, for starters; and then education, health care, safety and other issues that really make a difference in people's lives.
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. Good point. It's not like they're loading pallets with cash and shipping 'em abroad.
Umm... Never mind.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. You make a very interesting point.
The problem is that military spending is essentially pouring sand down a rathole. The money pays for jobs, but the jobs don't produce things that people actually use to improve the quality of their lives. (Well, there were a couple of times when the quality and likely duration of my life were improved by having a hand grenade to throw. But in general you know what I mean.) So what we need is an ultimately saner system in which people get a larger share of the wealth they actually produce, where there are public-sector jobs that pay off in improvements to the commons, etc. And of course you can't get from here to there without major dislocations. But since we're all going to have major disruptions in our lives anyway, this seems like the time to get on with building a stable mode of existence for ourselves.
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paulsby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. not true
"The money pays for jobs, but the jobs don't produce things that people actually use to improve the quality of their lives."

for example, on the subject of training, many surgeons and doctors learn valuable life saving techniques, INNOVATE/invent many new lifesaving techniques, and improve greatly their skillz at decreasing risk of death from trauma, etc.

that's one example.

i work with many people who greatly improve the quality of their public service as police officers, and better serve the citizenry, due to training they received in the military - from helicopter pilots, to patrol officers, to SWAT officers, etc.

so, military spending is FAR from throwing sand down a rathole. some of it is obviously wasteful, but let's not forget PLENTY of non-military spending is also wasteful.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. A LOT of military-developed stuff has crossed over into the civilian market.
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 08:57 PM by benEzra
The Internet, Teflon, FLIR, computers, radar, microwave ovens, advances in integrated circuits, reliable and efficient turbojet and turbofan engines, high-strength alloys, advances in aerodynamics, advances in failure analysis, advances in air traffic control, adaptive optics, you name it. Even the Hubble Space Telescope is a civilianized KH-11+ spysat reconfigured for low-light viewing and spectroscopy (and NASA would have done well to use the military solar panels, mirrors, and guidance computers instead of the inferior civilian replacements, as that would have saved them a lot of headaches early on). A LOT of the technology that underlies modern gee-whiz gadgets was originally developed for military applications.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Sure, BUT we also have a lot of tanks, bombs, Star Wars missiles
and whatnot that don't contribute a whole lot to anybody's quality of life. I think there are ways of developing new technologies (like the space program) that involve more efficient and prosocial uses for our money. These spinoffs are side effects, not the main effect of military spending. We spend as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, and I don't know that our rate of technological innovation is that much in advance of the rest of the world.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. The civilian space program has for some reason been more hidebound since the '60s
Edited on Sun Mar-08-09 09:05 AM by benEzra
than military R&D has. (Read The Hubble Wars by Eric Chaisson, formerly of the Space Telescope Science Institute at Johns Hopkins, to see what I mean.) I'm not sure why that is, but there seems to be a whole lot more of "marking time until retirement" in civilian space than milspace, and regardless of one's views on the topic, I think figuring out why DARPA is so much more innovative than NASA would go a long way toward helping NASA do more good. I mean, even adaptive optics (the technology behind the latest generation of ground-based telescopes that see way better than even the Hubble) was a military development, but has benefited astrophysics immensely.

Maybe it's because NASA has gotten into the mode of "projects for the sake of projects", with actual results being less important. The scrapping of the Gemini and Apollo hardware in favor of the space shuttle comes to mind; we're now spending billions hoping to replicate the launch capability that we had and scrapped in the early 1970's. And then there's the ISS, a project which makes me wonder how history would have developed if Christopher Columbus had anchored the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria 190 miles off the coast of Portugal and then spent all his funds over the next 25 years marking time and resupplying them from shore, in order to "learn about long ocean voyages". Military projects, on the other hand, eventually hit a wall of reality if they don't work and don't go anywhere.

There are a lot of things I'd like to see NASA work toward. But I think there is a lot they can learn from military Skunk Works style R&D that would help them immensely.

It's good to see that some in NASA are openly challenging the entrenched "ain't never done it that way" mentality, so there is hope:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_424YskAfew
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. One of the differences between domestic and military spending is
what we spend it on. When you spend it on a bridge that bridge is there for years and is used to further the goals of the peoples economy. Same way with education, health and other domestic spending. Some military spending is in that category but a lot of it is not. For instance when you build a tank or a aircraft carrier it will be set aside with no real pay back UNLESS we have a war or we are running an empire.
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EmilyAnne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. In WWII, we had to become a massively militarized country.
We didn't have the stockpiles we have today.

Also, I believe that we were still producing most of the raw materials used for the tanks, submarines, battle ships, planes, guns, bullets, etc.

We didn't buy much if any of it from foreign sources.



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EmilyAnne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Also, Europe was industrialized. There was sound infrastructure already in place that could be
used by our military as they needed.

Iraq and Afghanistan were quite different. So much of spending in these countries was to put together a basic infrastructure.

Meanwhile, we have been neglecting our own infrastructure. An inevitable bill that will be paid in one way or another.
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