Priorities in a declining empire
Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1954. “The Economic Crisis of the Tax State.” International Economic Papers, 4; reprinted in Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1991. The Economics and Sociology of Capitalism, ed. Richard Swedberg (Princeton: Princeton University Press): pp. 99-140.
“… public finances are one of the best starting points for an investigation of society. The spirit of a people, its cultural level, its social structure, the deeds its policy may prepare — and this and more is written in its fiscal history.” He cites Goldscheid. 1917. Staatsozialismus order Staatskapitalismus. “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.”
Following Schumpeter, the budget debates illustrate the kind of life that the rich and powerful wish on the rest of society. Get rid of the social safety net, destroy unions, turn the clock back to the nineteenth century. And yes, a bloated military to fight in every corner of the world.
The one area that the Obama is willing to rein in military spending is on medical care for the troops — at least Robert Gates emphasized that approach.
What is weird is that virtually nobody with access to the public media is talking sense. Even the unions seem to be swallowing the Kool Aid.