The Globe's Policeman

E.D. Kain wants to cut defense:

America is not imperial in the traditional sense, of course. We are not colonists. We have little interest in actually conquering territory. But we do have an overabundance of faith in the ability of our military to insure our security and our economic interests across the globe. Our military foots the bill for the defense of Europe and our Asian allies, allowing those countries to spend their own tax revenues on lavish safety nets and top-notch education programs. Meanwhile, Americans pay for Leviathan. Or at least the Leviathan with the guns.

Without serious cuts in our defense budget, it becomes almost certain that we’ll be unable to afford programs like those the Europeans have, or to even maximize the potential of our private-sector economy and innovation. One trillion dollars a year is a lot of money that could have gone to innovation in the markets. We can’t have it both ways, of course, even though everyone in Washington will tell you that we can. Indeed, it is the European governments which are freed from this military spending which are spending the most on butter, while Americans find themselves more and more mired in debt. You can have guns or you can have butter, but you can’t have both.