Let’s shrivel our military and rescue ourselves from debt, say some. They are confused. They should note for starters that this is the second decade of the 21st century, a far distance from the days when military spending took up as much as half the budget. It’s 18 percent now, a dwarf next to the budgetary Goliath it used to be. The Goliath today is entitlement programs.
Many people don’t get that — it’s not entirely clear the Obama administration gets that — but the old news is that military spending came down significantly after the Soviet Union waved goodbye. Remember how economically jovial the Clinton years were? One reason was major military reductions in federal spending.
Today, however, you could start substituting pea shooters for drones as part of a transformation-to-tiny military budget and still witness bloat in overall spending over time as baby boomers retire and Medicare, Social Security and other programs usher us to a continent-shaking debt calamity.