Mind the Machines
Charley Bravo - 8/1/11
One interesting upshot of the debt ceiling soap opera: Soon Republicans will argue that government spending promotes jobs and economic vitality. That's because the new "trigger mechanism" looming over the proposed November joint congressional budget committee includes an additional $600 billion in military cuts.
Sure the foreground tale of woe will feature wailing and gnashing of teeth over jeopardizing our "readiness" and "security" with abstract figures pulled out of "thin air". Lindsey Graham has already played this tune. But palpable absurdity will force a shift. The United States is not under attack. Eleven super carrier battle groups and a redundant nuclear triad are not holding the line in Iraq or Afghanistan. Ultimately both the the euphemism of "defense" and their real concerns will become more explicit: Pork and economic stimulus for congressional districts and whole states.
Perhaps it's already interesting that Graham inveighs against imposing mechanized, abstract trump cards as political solutions. But it's doubtful the conceptual significance of this tack will register with either Graham or the nihilistic tea baggers. Rapt in quasi-religious principle worship, they even threaten filibuster for the sake of the soulless mechanism of a balanced budget amendment. In their spiritual warfare with the abomination of worldly philosophers., the art of politics and an economic patient in need of treatment are ignored out of an infatuation with a certain Palin and a machine that goes "ping".
And yet, even with their "victory" in altering "politics as usual", something heretofore rather lacking in all the debt drama enters the dialogue: our bloated military machine.