MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Reagan Was Right: Big Government Corrupts the Military Too

Posted by M. C. on September 13, 2022

If President Reagan’s “law” is correct—that “as government expands, liberty contracts”—then further expanding Big Military can’t help but lead to additional reductions in our freedoms.

The Pentagon is the world’s largest employer. The military-industrial sector is characterized by entanglements between government and private firms, with the latter earning large profits from war preparation and war-making.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/reagan-was-right-big-government-corrupts-military-too-204668

by Christopher J. Coyne

Roger Zakheim, director of the Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, DC, which promotes the former president’s legacy, argued in a recent Wall Street Journal column that the United States needs to increase its annual military spending by at least 30 percent—from approximately 3.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to between 5 and 6 percent.

Zakheim, who also serves on the board of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), said the increase is needed to achieve a “margin of safety” for Americans against the growing threats from China and Russia.

In Zakheim’s telling, U.S. political leaders have made “common cause with the detente-pushing realists” while neglecting the investments necessary to modernize America’s armed forces. Unfortunately, this misses an important nuance. It is true that President Ronald Reagan was a proponent of strong defense, what he termed “peace through strength.” At the same time, he was a skeptic of big government and an opponent of top-down government planning.

The U.S. military sector—the same defense industrial complex the NDIA represents—is the poster child of both. It is a massive government enterprise grounded in top-down state planning by a small group of political elites. The Pentagon is the world’s largest employer. The military-industrial sector is characterized by entanglements between government and private firms, with the latter earning large profits from war preparation and war-making.

These entanglements are a hallmark of political capitalism—a system where political decision-making influences private decision-making and where private parties influence politics to further their interests, usually at the expense of taxpayers. The same you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours exists in other areas where the government is heavily involved as well, such as education and infrastructure, where private firms and other special interests spend millions of dollars attempting to influence policy for their own benefit in the name of some “common good.”

See the rest here

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