There are reasons to think it’s a huge make work program, aimed at being acceptable to conservatives.
But there hasn’t been much talk about this idea in the mainstream. You’ll hear military spending is wasteful, that we need a smaller military – but you won’t hear many people call it workfare.
That’s why this little back and forth with Grover Norquist is unusual, and even the article by Talking Points Memo’s Ben Amburster:
NORQUIST: We also need to combat the idea that the Defense Department is a jobs program. Some people who call themselves conservatives who are actually Keynesian, make work, FDR guys. They laugh at that when we see an $800 billion stimulus package. We know that’s garbage. We know that money is wasted. We know those aren’t real jobs. You haven’t created jobs. It’s just government spending that makes this country weaker. The same is true for any dollar wasted in the name of national defense. It doesn’t create jobs. It takes money out of the real economy and puts it into the government sector
Mr. Norquist bringing up this critique of the military without prompting is a good sign. TPM picking it up and highlighting it is even better.
Thinking about the military as a gigantic make work program – an ELR of sorts – puts the entire military into an entirely different perspective.
(P.S. Yeah – I’ve been really busy – and it’s August! I took some time off)