Don’t Cut Defense (…just redefine it)

July 23rd, 2012

Republicans are rallying against the automatic defense cuts scheduled for January 1. This time, I’m on their side…with a twist.


“We must give America a modern highway system. In addition to easing the Nation’s traffic problems, we will, by this great program, powerfully stimulate healthy economic growth and strengthen the Nation’s security.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954


Proud liberal though I be

I proudly join the GOP.

I come now to the defense

Of those who say “don’t cut defense.”


I say rescind the defense sequester:

Make National Defense again a National Investor.

In the proud tradition of Eisenhower,

Let’s protect our national power!


Yes, you read that right: I’m siding with Republicans on the need to stop the automatic defense cuts scheduled to take place on January 1. But with a small twist.

Remember when Eisenhower built the national highway system? The main reason he cited for doing so was national defense–America had to be able to move our weapons and armies around the country quickly and reliably. In fact, it was even called the “Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.”

That contention is no less true today than it was then, and it is certainly true in the broad sense that a strong national defense requires a strong economy, which requires a strong infrastructure, which we unfortunately no longer have.

There’s plenty of other precedent for the nexus between national defense spending and infrastructure investment. It was the Roman army, after all, which designed and built the network of roads and bridges which united the ancient world. And our own Army Corps of Engineers has spearheaded many civilian construction projects. This approach also dovetails nicely with the bipartisan idea that Americais going to “stop spending money to rebuild other countries and start rebuilding our own.” It also defangs the GOP’s principle argument (“what about the jobs?”) to rescind the cuts, since infrastructure spending would have much greater job creation impact than the military spending it would replace.

So I say rescind the automatic defense cuts, even if that means adding to the deficit. As Republicans say, it’s worth it, and absolutely necessary to keepAmericastrong (not to mention all the jobs it will create).

Rescind the defense cuts, and spend the money on infrastructure.

PS: I’m actually serious about this. The whole defense cut wouldn’t have to be restored and the whole rescission wouldn’t necessarily have to be spent on infrastructure, but a big chunk could and should be. Some/all of this spending might be able to be done under existing Executive Branch budgetary authority: all Dems would have to do is make sure the authorization and appropriation bills weren’t written so specifically as to explicitly preclude this. Of course, the program shift would be public ally announced, at some point…


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Posted in Economy, National Security, Republicans | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Don’t Cut Defense (…just redefine it)”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Opening Bid Says:

    […] if we don’t), consider running infrastructure expenditure through the Defense appropriation (read Don’t Cut Defense for more about […]

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