Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Paul Ryan as Military Keynesian

Tad DeHaven writes:
Speaking outside a helicopter museum in eastern Pennsylvania yesterday, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan bemoaned the “irresponsible defense cuts” and subsequent job losses that would occur under the Budget Control Act’s sequestration spending cuts. That would be the same Budget Control Act that Paul Ryan voted for, and, at least initially, defended.


“What conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years, are statutory caps on spending, legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money,” Ryan told FOX News’s Sean Hannity shortly after the agreement was reached last August. “And if they breach that amount across the board, sequester comes in to cut that spending, and you can’t turn that off without a super-majority vote. We got that in law.”

It’s not just Ryan’s backing away from the BCA’s spending cuts that’s irritating; it’s the fact that he’s basing his opposition to the cuts on the same flawed Keynesian rationale that the president used to justify his failed stimulus package...

Instead of hiding behind defense-related job losses, Ryan should be explaining why he thinks even more resources should be diverted from the private sector to the military-industrial complex as Mitt Romney is proposing. While Ryan and his fellow Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration’s job creation schemes, treating the Pentagon like a jobs program is arguably even more egregious.

Of course, DeHaven is writing this for Cato, so he does come out with the odd point that Ryan "should be explaining why he thinks even more resources should be diverted from the private sector to the military-industrial complex." As if there could possibly be an explanation as to why the U.S, military needs to expand its budget, when pulling back the adventures of the US government in empire building would solve the military budget problem quite nicely.

That said, DeHaven's point that Ryan is a military Keynesian, who believes  military spending creates jobs, without looking as to where the money comes from for such spending and the jobs lost because that money is coercively taken, is spot on. So much for Ryan the Randian, Hayekian, Misesian.


  1. Anybody with a lick of sense realizes from even the most cursory of examinations that the US government's "defense procurement" is probably the most rapacious racket in the history of the world.

  2. Ha, I worked for Boeing Defense Procurement for a couple of years. You couldn't be more on the money. The amount of bureaucracy and waste was mind-numbing.