Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How do you spell stimulus? D-E-F-E-N-C-E

With the current dire state of serious British journalism I'm increasingly finding my time spent reading US news sites for decent, thoughtful commentary. To be honest, much of the US output is equally garbage, but there are still gems to be found if you look hard enough - much more so than there are on British sites.

Today I came across this from Maritn Feldstein - chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan.

Feldstein suggests that defence spending is exactly the right sort of spending a government should be doing as a "stimulus" to the economy - and I agree entirely. At least I do as far as the USA is concerned - and I would do for the UK also if it wasn't for one thing.

Military procurement has the further advantage that almost all of the equipment and supplies that the military buys is made in the United States, creating demand and jobs here at home.

You see, therein lies the problem. We don't actually make much of the stuff our armed forces uses anymore, so any defence spending will likely as not go abroad.

I would like to think that a sensible political party would look at this situation and wonder whether that is the right thing for Britain - having a defence procurement system that relies so heavily on foreign supply - and do something about it, but with our mainstream parties so devoid of any military understanding I think this is very unlikely.

I find that very depressing.

There is one thing they could do though - and that is to start an immediate programme to refit and repair the homes our soldiers families live in which your average welfare scrounger would turn his nose up at as unsuitable for him and his junkie mates. I suppose they could also replace the military hospitals they stupidly closed down - but that's not likely either.

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