Thursday, February 18, 2021


I'm beginning to see criticism of Biden from the Left, of which I am a moderate member. Did anyone think that Biden was anything but a standard issue liberal Democrat? Remember LBJ and Vietnam? (But also LBJ's Medicare, AFDC, Job Corps, etc.?)

From a policy standpoint, liberal Democrats have always faced a puzzling paradox since World War II concerning the military. Think of the economic effects of military spending:

1) The military yields higher employment for otherwise unqualified lower-middle class and poor citizens and a generally very nice, wholly subsidized, suburban lifestyle for military families. (Admittedly, with drawbacks such as injury and death. Although US casualties have usually been kept comparably low. No wars since 1941 have involved civilian deaths in the mainland USA. In WW2, the USSR had 11 million military deaths, Germany 4 million ; the USA 407,000, less than half a million. With civilian deaths, in Europe and Asia, some 70 million were killed. The much vaunted 55,000 US dead in Vietnam pale next to the 700,000 military Vietnamese dead and the million or so civilians killed in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.)

2) The Pentagon also subsidizes a nice chunk of the civilian economy. Boeing workers, for example, are highly paid and unionized, as are most major military contractors. After WW2, Boeing declined to the point it shrank to having a clothing store, in Seattle I think, as its main facility in the late 1940s. The Korean War saved Boeing.

3) Then there are the communities in which bases are located, which, once again, reap untold indirect economic subsidies.

4) The military is the only social welfare program that can be sold as pro-business and "patriotic."

So the question is: with what do we replace the war machine?