Mitt Romney's Military Keynesianism

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 12 2012 11:39 AM

Mitt Romney's Military Keynesianism

I haven't been watching Romney campaign ads, but my colleague Will Saletan has a great piece about his latest salvos on defense spending which wholeheartedly endorse the idea that cuts in defense spending will cost jobs.

Will doesn't approve, but I'm glad to hear it. One of the quirks of American politics is that for some reason politicians often seem compelled to exagerate the nature of partisan disagreements—blowing up disagreements about specific questions into broad question of great moral or theoretical import. That's too bad. The question of whether it's better to try to create jobs during a depression by borrowing money to invest in acquiring military equipment or borrowing money to invest in civilian infrastructure projects is an important one. Obviously it makes a great deal of difference in people's lives whether we build an extra aircraft carrier or upgrade facilities at a bunch of schools. If we could actually debate that issue, people might learn a thing or two. It also might be possible to reach some constructive compromises.

Advertisement

It's kind of fun in a dorm room philosophy way to debate the big fundamental issues instead, where Republicans pretend to believe that Democrats are wrong to think government spending can create jobs, but it's also pretty toxic. Government spending can create jobs, when the labor market is depressed and short-term interest rates are near zero. But the question of what kind of spending is worthwhile is deeply controversial, so politicians should argue about it.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How Moscow’s Anti-War March Revealed One of Russia’s Deepest Divides

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.