July 20, 2005

THE PUBLIC VS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES:

The Contest Between Taxeaters and Taxpayers (Orrin Judd, 07/20/2005, Tech Central Station)

Editor's note: Steven Malanga is a contributing editor of City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, specializing in urban economies, business communities, and public policy. His book The New New Left : How American Politics Works Today describes an emerging political dynamic that pits those who benefit from an ever-expanding public sector against those who pay for this bigger government, a contest between taxeaters and taxpayers. Mr. Malanga recently sat for an interview with Orrin Judd.

JUDD: The title of your book refers to the New New Left -- who comprises this group and what's "New" about them?

MALANGA: The New New Left, which I also sometimes call the public sector economy, consists of those taxeaters who live off government, either through transfer payments, public sector employment, or employment in sectors like private social services or health care which are increasingly funded by government. These groups began acquiring political power 40 years ago, largely with the help of the vast expansion of government that began during the War on Poverty.

I call the movement "new" because about 10 years ago members of these various groups began recognizing that they had the same interest in an ever-expanding government and started working together in coalitions that support bigger government and government solutions to our problems. In many states and cities the coalition has now gathered so much power that it is in control of the political agenda.

MORE:
Living wage laws offer no panacea (George Avalos, 6/30/05, CONTRA COSTA TIMES)

The latest salvo in the battle over living wage laws suggests the ordinances have unleashed some unintended consequences and produced mixed results.

Over the past decade, the ordinances have helped some low-skilled workers and harmed others, according to a study released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

"On one hand there are some job losses because of living wage ordinances, but on the other hand, poverty is reduced to some extent," said David Neumark, a senior fellow with San Francisco-based Public Policy who co-authored the study with University of Wisconsin professor Scott Adams.

The study by the think tank, which is dedicated to improving public policy in California, suggested that living wage laws can price some potential workers out of the job market if employers refuse to hire people to avoid the higher wage costs.

"Living wage laws, on average, boost the wages of the lowest-wage workers but also reduce employment among the least-skilled," the authors of the study wrote. "The adverse effects of living wages fall most heavily on the least-skilled individuals, who are the least likely to be employable after a mandatory wage increase is enacted."


As Steven Malanga has explained, the living wage isn't intended to help those trying to make a living.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 20, 2005 6:00 PM
Comments

Here in WA the voter referendum is the only thing that keeps the tax-eaters somewhat under control. Unfortunately, in the last legislative session, the senate passed a bill declaring there to be a budget emergency and with a simple majority voted to override a referendum requiring a supermajority to raise taxes. A judge recently declared this to be legal even though the only "emergency" was that there wasn't enough money in the budget for their pet programs. This effectively guts the referendum process since the legislature can throw away the ones they don't like with a simple majority vote.

Posted by: Patrick H at July 20, 2005 12:21 PM

Malanga's essays correctly describe the complex web of economic relationships that define the tax eater world. But the perverse organism thrives on more than bread alone. The connections derive their vitality and durability from the active promotion of vices implicit in their construction. The whole network is animated by reciprocating corruption, and the corruption is at the core of the culture wars.

Posted by: Luciferous at July 20, 2005 12:21 PM

Nothing new here. Conservatives have been warning us about this for decadwes. Buckley, Kirk, Meyer, Goldwater, Friedman--all of them. Every dollar channeled through the public sector increases the power of that sector and deminishes the choices of the rest of us.

What is particularly pernecious is that social radicals form coalition with public employees to aggrandize state power. The idea is to gather as many necks as possible into a single neck which the Left may then grasp and squeeze to force a transformation.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 20, 2005 2:18 PM

those who benefit from an expanding government, including public-sector employees, workers at organizations that survive off government money, and those who receive government benefits.

is this code for "lobbyists", "workers at halliburton", and "corporate America"?

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 5:09 PM

No.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 20, 2005 5:13 PM

oh. because those are the folks who have primarily benefitted under the greatest expansion of the federal government in history, courtesy of BushCo.

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 5:18 PM

Sure, if their methods, purposes, and effects are similar.

Posted by: Luciferous at July 20, 2005 5:22 PM

We exhausted the horse/donkey theme last week. Been to Enumclaw lately?

Posted by: ghostcat at July 20, 2005 5:23 PM

show me the way, ghostcat.

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 5:29 PM

Random thoughts: The biggest growth in public sector spending has been at the state and local levels, not federal. The biggest growth at the federal level has been in social services, not defense. The lobbyist presence in the DC area has been mushrooming since 1966, not 2001. Halliburton does not get a substantial slice of the defense pie. "Corporate welfare" is a problem, and has been for decades. (Q: Ever wonder why Chrysler is still around? A: Jimah and the Rustbelt Democrats.)

Posted by: ghostcat at July 20, 2005 5:41 PM

[T]he greatest expansion of the federal government in history, courtesy of BushCo.

Why, O why, do liberals rarely demonstrate any knowledge of history ?

Is it because history is written by "The Man", and is so distorted that a liberal could learn nothing useful from accounts of the American Civil War, WW II, or the War on Poverty ?

At least blow the dust off of your dictionary and look up "nominal".

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 20, 2005 5:48 PM

I forgot to include the New Deal.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 20, 2005 5:50 PM

Why, O why, do liberals rarely demonstrate any knowledge of history?

Because for leftists, the past is always corrupt. The promise of a better tommorrow (via progressive policy) is all that's worth dwelling on. So ignore the past, because it bears no lessons.

Posted by: Twn at July 20, 2005 6:01 PM

Now, now. Just because people who live in rural areas like Enumclaw tend to mind their own business, and some Seattleites took advantage of that to set up their Larry Flynt-style petting zoo there, is no reason to inflict the lonbuds of the world on that town. After all, the animal lovers couldn't well set it up in a Seattle neighborhood like Capitol Hill, could they? Can you imagine the zoning ordances they'd have to break? And then the animal rights activists would have to take time out from vandalizing delis to demand that the animals be given domestic partner benefits and absentee ballots.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 20, 2005 7:28 PM

Raoul -

I was more or less amused by the story until the horse turned out to be a stallion. What an a_ _hole!

Posted by: ghostcat at July 20, 2005 7:58 PM

damn. i really have to watch my rhetoric around here. and that's OK, because the facts are still on my side.

let's see. federal government expands with the new deal to lift the country out of the great depression brought on by private sector corruption and malfeasance during the meat of the industrial revolution. mostly a good thing, one would think, but it smacks of socialism, so it's likely vilified here in juddworld.

federal gov't expands more during wwii to halt and defeat the scourge of fascism and hitler. presumably OK with everyone except the neo-nazis.

federal gov't expands again during the "great society" and "war on poverty" --both of which have the enumclaw animal rights activists in juddworld champing at the bit. creation of the "welfare state" and all that.

but here's where it get's dicey for y'all:

the great and sainted ronald reagan of blessed memory, who championed himself as a model of fiscal austerity, presided over a federal budget that was 69 percent larger when he left office than when he entered it--22 percent larger in real terms. As a share of GDP, federal outlays declined by less than 1 percentage point. On Defense Spending, from 1981 to 1989, the Pentagon budget doubled from $158 billion to $304 billion. The years of the greatest spending hike in the military budget were 1978-87, when the Pentagon's expenditures rose from $180 billion to $280 billion in real 1987 dollars.

But here's where the true colors bleed through:

Overall domestic spending growth was relatively constrained during the Reagan presidency, particularly compared with that of other presidencies. In fact, domestic spending grew at a slower real rate under Reagan than under all other recent presidents. Moreover, domestic outlays as a share of GDP fell from 15.3 to 12.9 percent from 1981 to 1989. But the reductions in domestic spending were substantially smaller than required to balance the federal budget, cut taxes, and finance a military build-up.

All of this comes from a report by the Cato Institute, which I gather is a respected source in juddworld. Link provided on request.

And for George the Lesser, his record as a "conservative," true to Grover Norquist's quest to fashion a federal government small enough to drown in the bathtub, well, the numbers speak for themselves:

Federal spending grew by 7.3 percent in 2003, slightly slower than the 7.9 percent growth rate in 2002. The slower growth rate is encouraging; yet, Government is still growing significantly faster than it did in the 1990s. In fact, the 7.6 percent average annual growth over the past two years more than doubled the 3.4 percent average annual growth from 1993 to 2001.

The total amount of federal spending --$2,156,536,000,000-- is too large to fully comprehend (in $1 bills, it would stack halfway to the moon, weigh 10 times as much as the Sears Tower, and blanket the state of New Jersey).

A more relatable statistic is federal spending per household, which allows families to measure the costs and benefits of government in their own lives. Throughout the 1990s, real federal spending re-mained slightly under $18,000 per household. By 2003, federal spending jumped by $2,500 to reach $20,300 per household--marking the first time since World War II that federal spending has topped $20,000 per household.

The reality that all spending must eventually be paid for in taxes cannot be overemphasized.

Despite its current popularity, the "big-government conservative" model of coupling tax relief with rapid spending increases is not sustainable in the long run. If Washington continues to spend $2,500 per household more than it did in the 1990s, then taxes must eventually rise by $2,500 per household per year. Budget deficits can delay, but not ultimately avoid, the tax collector. Permanently higher levels of spending require permanently higher taxes.

Brought to you by your pals at the Heritage Institute.

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 10:34 PM

That discretionary spending only, or does it include transfer payments?

Posted by: ghostcat at July 20, 2005 10:52 PM

Federal spending as a % of GDP hasn't increased significantly--it's moved within a range of 18 to 22% over the last 40 years and is at around 20% today.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2005 11:01 PM

it is what is is, boss. y'all ain't for any reduction in the size of gubmint as long as it get spent on your'n.

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 11:02 PM

it is what it is, boss. y'all ain't for any reduction in the size of gubmint as long as it get spent on your'n.

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 11:03 PM

Here's a deal for you, lonbud - freeze federal spending at today's level for 4 years. No increases for anything. Nothing, nada, zip. From entitlements to the arts to studies on fleas to tanks to solar energy to interstate highways. Not one dollar more. Like it?

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 20, 2005 11:12 PM

jim: that's about the best one can hope for out of your krewe --status quo. bid'ness as usual.

'fraid not.

Posted by: lonbud at July 20, 2005 11:59 PM

oj:

you don't do the stats thing very well.

Posted by: lonbud at July 21, 2005 12:03 AM

given that the status quo is twenty years plus of uninterrupted economic growth it seems worth keeping.

Posted by: oj at July 21, 2005 12:09 AM

[The} federal government expands with the new deal to lift the country out of the great depression brought on by private sector corruption and malfeasance...

Say what ?

The "Great Depression" was entirely a public phenomenon.
Federal restrictions on free trade, and a tight money policy by the central bank, turned what was an ordinary "panic" and recession into a prolonged recession.

The U.S. GNP recovered to its 1929 level by 1934, and per capita GNP equalled its 1929 level in 1939.

But, perhaps I'm wrong.

What, exactly, was this "private sector corruption and malfeasance" that resulted in the Great Depression ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 21, 2005 1:16 AM

Michael, I think he was using the history of the depression as told by Zinn and Chomsky.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 21, 2005 1:24 AM

lonbud, OJ has difficulty with anything more mathematically complex than addition and subtraction and even those seem a little iffy sometimes.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 21, 2005 10:56 AM

lonbud -

you are a coward.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 21, 2005 11:22 AM

A kind of head in the sand, self-satisfied condescension is a hallmark of the leftist attitude. The list of classical liberal,i.e. 'conseravtive', appeasers is rather small, after all. Statism is the problem rather than control by the right or left. That's the reality, lonbud, how are the 'conservatives' wrong?

Posted by: at July 21, 2005 11:32 AM

Does 20% not fall between 18% & 22%

Posted by: oj at July 21, 2005 12:14 PM

lonbud -

you are a coward.
Posted by: jim hamlen at July 21, 2005 11:22 AM

how's that, jim?

"A kind of head in the sand, self-satisfied condescension is a hallmark of the leftist attitude. The list of classical liberal,i.e. 'conseravtive', appeasers is rather small, after all. Statism is the problem rather than control by the right or left. That's the reality, lonbud, how are the 'conservatives' wrong?"

i'm not sure what this unnamed poster is getting at, but my point here is that people on the Right are always going on about how evil and wasteful and inefficient government is, and how they want to make it smaller and how they abhor the concept of a welfare state and wasting taxpayers' money on lazy, no-good, crack-whore baby factories, BUT...

The Right's heroic presidents don't actually do anything close to making government smaller, or more efficient, or waste taxpayers' money any less, or abjure the moniker of a welfare state -they just direct the money to multinational corporations, agribusiness, their friends in the energy industry and the military under some kind of mythical national security perogative.

Talk about condescending, you cats personify the word. The Right is filled with bigoted, hypocrtical gasbags who have no one's interests at heart but their own.

Posted by: lonbud at July 21, 2005 6:35 PM

if you compare charitable giving by conservative people, to the charitable giving of leftists, you will quickly learn which group's members "have no one's interests at heart but their own". talk is cheap.

Posted by: cjm at July 21, 2005 7:48 PM

we're not talking about "charitable giving" here, cjm. what are you, some kind of noblesse oblige proponent?

we're talking about the government and taxpayers' money and how it gets spent and on whom. and the Right are a bunch of hypocritical gasbags on that topic.

Posted by: lonbud at July 21, 2005 11:54 PM

lonbud:

Of course we are, but it's our money now.

Posted by: oj at July 21, 2005 11:58 PM

lonbud:

The left complains about deficit, but never about the size or growth of government. Why not?

You seem to be a libertarian-type, so why doesn't the hydra-like growth of government disturb you? Catting at the right because they haven't followed through very well is the easy way out.

But the reason I said what I did is because every time a leftist is offered an opportunity to give a coherent answer on how to shrink the deficit or the reach of government, the response is derision or tap dancing. If you had simply said "no, don't freeze anything - raise taxes", that would have been an answer. But you couldn't help yourself.

Which is why the Democratic party has had nothing coherent to say on any economic issue since probably 1962, and why OJ's response to you is spot on. The status quo flows from Reagan to 43, via Milton Friedman, Arthur Laffer, Von Mises, and a host of others, back all the way to Adam Smith.

Bill Buckley once told an anti-nuclear zealot that she would be safer living in a world goverened by him than he would be under her. You most certainly live in a world with more economic opportunity, freedom, and wealth than any world goverened by any statist, progressive, or bleeding heart (take your choice, from Charlie Rangel to Ted Kennedy to Jennifer Granholm to Bob Taft to John Kerry to Jimmy Carter to Nancy Pelosi to Jeremy Rifkin to Ralph Nader to Warren Buffett).

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 12:14 AM

http://www.city-journal.org/html/11_3_urbanities-how_and_how_no.html

a wonderful piece, oj. thank you for the link. i feel certain had i the fortune to cross paths with ivan and karl back in the day, i'd have much preferred the company of the former.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 12:30 AM

lonbud:

Of course you would--no one liked Marx. The problem is that you share his fatal flaw--you love men in the abstract and hate them in the particular. Conservatives are the opposite.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 12:44 AM

that's certainly a more thoughtful response than simply calling me a coward, jim. the hydra like growth of government does disturb me, but what disturbs me more is that the Right makes all this noise about it disturbing them and, having all the power and all the money (as both oj and cjm point out), they don't do anything about it! i have a feeling my ideas on shrinking the deficit and the reach of government would send the population of juddworld into apoplexy, but --if you'll pardon a little soft shoe-- why is 42, for example, who actually did shrink the deficit, so vilified in these parts?

i believe we'd do well to begin examining the bloated pentagon budget and our mindless crusade to make the entire globe safe for democracy. we ought to jail a few war-profiteers, and sharply curb corporate freedoms to act at the expense of the environment and human rights in the pursuit of profit.

for a start.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 12:52 AM

lonbud:

It's certainly bloated, but compared to any other major world power in history, including us, it's laughably minimal.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 1:00 AM

you are quite the conundrum, oj. you don't know me and have no standing, sir, to pass judgment on the quality of my love or hate. if anything, the opposite of what you said is closer to the fact of the matter: i love people in the particular and hate them in the abstract. and i certainly share turgenev's understanding of the complexity and imperfection of man in this earthly existence. if i didn't have that, and the compassion that flows from it, how could i stand hanging around here?

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 1:01 AM

lonbud:

You're completely of a type and Dalrymple describes you well.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 1:10 AM

now who's talking like a marxist?

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 1:25 AM

Ah, but there's the key -- it matters not that your current politics make you a caricature, you can rise above them and become a free man.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 1:59 AM

neobud, take the red pill, you know you want to :)
everything you have been taught about the world is a lie...

Posted by: cjm at July 22, 2005 2:05 AM

cjm: turns out what i was taught about the world fits quite nicely with the juddworld view, but several years of independent experience and observation have brought me to an understanding and a viewpoint that leads me to conclude, for example, that oj is completely of a type and the orifice in closest proximity to the perineum describes him well.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 2:17 AM

lonbud you post many things that are demonstrably untrue, and border on ravings, but i think underneath it all you are coming to the realization that you have been sold a bill of goods by the left. can you please try looking for coroborating evidence for the positions you take ? you won't find it. what you will find is contra veiling evidence, in abundance. sure the republicans are flawed, and the gop has its share of kooks cranks and crooks, but overall it has much higher standards and values than the democratic party.

you have made many many inflammatory statements about the u.s., capitalism, corporations, etc, but you never ever criticise the real evil in the world. this makes me suspect you have had a rough time here, and are lashing at out, instead of working to make your life the way you think it ought to be.

it makes me sad to see you get mocked here, but then you don't try very hard to earn anyone's respect. i think if you had a more focused approach, and provided evidence to support your positions, you would find the results surprising.

you come here for a reason but don't want to admit what that reason is. the truth will set you free -- just like the red pill does :)

Posted by: cjm at July 22, 2005 10:14 AM

i appreciate the avuncular advice cjm, but you are mistaken on the whole. part of the problem is that you and many of the posters here see the world in absolute terms, and distill the conflict in american life into a choice between republicans and democrats, between conservatives and liberals.

ideology informs the vast majority of opinion here, and it's one that is brutish, dismissive, elitist --and rooted in fear.

while everything i have to say is demonstrably at odds with prevailing wisdom in juddworld, and much of it may be delivered with rhetorical hyperbole, when i have taken the time to back it up with citable fact, that gets ignored and out come the ad hominem attacks. standard-issue right wing debating style.

what is this real evil of which you speak, and how is it you are so certain of its character and provenance? i think you choose easy targets, thinking just because you can hit the broad side of a barn from sixty feet you're frickin' nolan ryan or somebody.

osama, al quaeda, saddam, pol pot, stalin, hitler --come on man, these guys are too easy to finger for the problems of the world. and yes, they must be confronted wherever they are found, and be contained and disarmed and destroyed.

but that righteous calling does not excuse our failure to root out the evil in our own hearts, or at least to bring our own darkness into the light.

it's my view that, as far as it affects the lives of americans and impacts the future of america's children, the evil of osama bin laden is of far less concern than the evil of the ken lays, the bernie ebbers', and the dennis kozlowskis in our midst.

george w. bush may be worshipped in every iraqi and afghan home someday, but he is in the process of leading his own nation, like those sheep in turkey a couple of weeks ago, over the cliffs of doom.

so, keep your red pills, thanks. pop another cold one, and kick-back in your bargain wall-mart easy chair. flip on FOX --there's bound to be some riotous soft-core fun on.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 11:37 AM

lonbud:

They're going to prison.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 11:40 AM

it wasn't george bush who killed the children on the 9/11 flights. it wasn't ken lay who built a children's prison in iraq. anyone who thinks bernie ebbers is a bigger problem/threat than osama or saddam is insane.

there is very little ideology here, except when there are leftists visiting.

you are the one filled with fear and hate, and that is taking a horrific toll on your soul. just how much of this short life we are granted, are you going to throw away ? good luck and try not to get into bomb building, even if dr dean tells you it's justified.

Posted by: cjm at July 22, 2005 1:18 PM

Very insightful, lonbud. Ideology, walmart, stalin, hitler, kapitalism ,what evil lurks.., etc.,etc.

What about the military/industrial complex?

If you don't like lobbyists, limit the reach of the federal government. I know, we need the top heavy, comman and control, regulatory hand of the state to root out the evil in the hearts of all.
You can't trust'em to manage themselves. No wonder you guys hate American style religion: the hypocrisy and the competition.

It's not enough that the evil kapitalist krooks are going to prison, lonbud? What do you recommend? Forced labor and starvation diets? Re-education camps?

You are a caricature. Your snide tone brings back memories of times long ago when the Left still mattered.

Posted by: at July 22, 2005 1:40 PM

Very insightful, lonbud. Ideology, walmart, stalin, hitler, kapitalism ,what evil lurks.., etc.,etc.

What about the military/industrial complex?

If you don't like lobbyists, limit the reach of the federal government. I know, we need the top heavy, comman and control, regulatory hand of the state to root out the evil in the hearts of all.
You can't trust'em to manage themselves. No wonder you guys hate American style religion: the hypocrisy and the competition.

It's not enough that the evil kapitalist krooks are going to prison, lonbud? What do you recommend? Forced labor and starvation diets? Re-education camps?

You are a caricature. Your snide tone brings back memories of times long ago when the Left still mattered.

Posted by: at July 22, 2005 1:45 PM

given that the status quo is twenty years plus of uninterrupted economic growth it seems worth keeping.
Posted by: oj at July 21, 2005 12:09 AM

here's your status quo, oj:

Link

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 2:34 PM

lonbud:

Precisely. we're taking back the culture.

Posted by: at July 22, 2005 2:39 PM

oj: GTA-SA is your culture.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 6:48 PM

Yes, adults can be allowed some considerable freedom within the rather Puritanical limits of our culture.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 6:54 PM

GTA-SA represents the whole culture about as well as Dollywood.

Actually, less well, because Dollywood and its ilk are a more or less permanent fixture among an American subculture, but GTA-SA is primarily played by young males, and gets set aside with the other toys of youth by most, in the fullness of time.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 23, 2005 4:11 AM

Dollywood is the culture, not a subculture, like Disney, Branson, etc.

Posted by: oj at July 23, 2005 8:53 AM

ideology informs the vast majority of opinion here, and it's one that is brutish, dismissive, elitist --and rooted in fear.
...
george w. bush may be worshipped in every iraqi and afghan home someday, but he is in the process of leading his own nation, like those sheep in turkey a couple of weeks ago, over the cliffs of doom.

Way to go, lonbud! That'll show us how not to fearmonger!

Cliffs of Doom? Isn't that from an Indiana Jones movie? What is it that you really fear about the current situation? Do you really buy all that "Arab Street" nonsense, of how we are awakening a mighty giant and filling him with a terrible resolve?

If you knew your history, you'd know that we are the mighty giant that has a tendency to nap, not the mighty Arab Street. The Arab Street is an impotent midget, a midget that knows it is a midget and has a chip on its shoulder because of that fact. It is not our actions that has him all riled up: he was born angry, he wakes up angry, he gets angrier every time he goes to mosque or is forced to realize that his wonderful culture, the legacy of his forefathers, puts him at the bottom of the global barrel.

Fear him if you must, lonbud. Apologise to him and offer him reparations, go to him and offer your services as a human shield as an act of solidarity. Just don't expect to earn his respect, or his word to never harm you, in the process.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 23, 2005 2:11 PM

For the record, lonbud is right with regards to the growth of the federal budget under Bush. This is not a fiscally conservative administration. Although there is very little in the discretionary budget that can make a difference with regards to the overall budget.

The defense budget is probably the most important portion of the federal budget. Lonbud, those useless attempts to make the world safe for democracy pay more dividends to our economy, and the world's economy, than any other program our government pursues, imo. The Cold War arms race bankrupted the Soviet empire, and now every nation that was once hostage to the Soviet sphere, including Russia, is free to participate in the global economy. We take the benefits of Pax Americana for granted, and even imagine that American power is the cause of the instability that we see in the world, instead of the reason that the world is as peaceful and stable as it is. The world would be much worse off if America withdrew militarily from the world, as would America herself.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 23, 2005 2:40 PM
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