October 26, 2012
HOLES IN THE HULL: In his Friday column, Jonah Goldberg writes that Obama’s military rhetoric in the third presidential debate, was “an example of how thoroughly liberalism has confused sneering for intellectual confidence…Obama’s argument — if that’s not too generous a word — is that the Navy in particular, and the military in general, can do so much more because of technological advances:”
What innovation does he have in mind? Many of our warplanes and nearly all of our major naval vessels are much older than the pilots and sailors flying and sailing them. It’s great to talk up the benefits of innovation, but that argument starts to sputter when you realize we are often relying on the innovation of older generations. For all his talk about the game Battleship, we haven’t built a real battleship in almost 70 years, and the Navy hasn’t had one in its arsenal for decades.
But what I find most interesting about this argument is how selective it is. For instance, defenders of Obama’s Keynesian economic policies are constantly touting the benefits of big, high-tech spending programs because of the “multiplier effect” — the increased economic activity “primed” by government spending.
Indeed, the economists who subscribe to these views tend to tout military spending as particularly good evidence in their favor. Many argue that it was the massive spending during World War II that really pulled us out of the Great Depression (a flawed theory but more credible than the New Deal itself, which mostly prolonged the Great Depression).
And yet, it seems that military spending is the only Keynesian pump-priming this president doesn’t like.
Conversely, his argument that technological advances should deliver increased savings by providing more “bang for the buck” doesn’t seem to enter his thinking anywhere else. In the private sector he finds improved efficiencies to be a burden — all of those ATM machines taking away good bank-teller jobs.
Read the whole thing.
RELATED: Charles Krauthammer adds, “Obama would have made a very good Bourbon. He’s certainly not a very good debater. He showed it again Monday night.”