Saturday, April 14, 2007

Romney Outlines His Tax-Free Vision of Defense

In a Texas speech this week, Romney outlines his "four point" strategy for 21st Century defense.


After the appropriate mentions of Jihad and how terrible they are, he goes on for four points:

  1. Spend (tax-free?) more to "strengthen" the military
    1. Add to the cost of the standing army, by adding 100,000 troops. (It's not clear if that is in addition to those already in the works under Bush).
    2. Use 4% of GDP as the arbitrary minimum for defense spending.
    3. Appoint defense industry experts (foxes?) and independents to cut out the pork in military procurement.
  2. Spend oodles of public money on research to become Energy Independent (but, "license" "our" technology finds to the rest of the world...hummm.)
  3. Transform our civilian efforts, a la Goldwater-Nichols.
  4. "Strengthen" old alliances and forge new partnerships (an "alliance for hope and prosperity")

I'd like to know just how much of #1 is, like Newt, preparing to fight the last war (i.e. Iraq). Are we preparing for more nation building contingencies?

If GDP grows exponentially and spending on threats is a constant proportion (4%), is the assessment here that threats in relation to the U.S.'s capacity to handle them are growing exponentially, too? When I hear such things, I'm for zero-based budgeting.

I worry that all these transformation efforts put too much authority in the hands of a few people. I wish we could find just as many ways to incent co-operation, without having to build bigger organizational pyramids.

"Free trade and investment" are ... controversial ways to build new alliances for prosperity, if Romney hadn't noticed ...

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