A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
machinehead's picture
machinehead
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 18 2008
Posts: 1077
A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

FINALLY somebody gets it!

The national debt is the single biggest threat to national security, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012, the chairman told students and local leaders in Detroit.

“That’s one year’s worth of defense budget,” he said, adding that the Pentagon needs to cut back on spending.

“We’re going to have to do that if it’s going to survive at all,” Mullen said, “and do it in a way that is predictable.”

http://www.executivegov.com/2010/08/mullen-national-debt-is-a-security-threat/

The most cursory inspection of history shows that most empires collapse financially, often from military overreach.

Mullen at least understands that finances limit his options, while legions of PhD Econs silently suck their thumbs.

Macroeconomically, the US military empire does not pay for itself. It is a deadweight loss, sucking away 4% of GDP annually from being invested in energy, education and productivity.

Yet shutting down the obsolete NATO alliance, which has spent nine years losing the Afghan war, isn't even on the agenda.

 

 

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

1965-1973 (most forces) and we've been in Afghanistan since 2001. Now the longest war.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

Some pretty wild comments in the readers' section following that article.  Will be interesting to see what media coverage this gets, assuming it is an accurate quote.  So what do you think?  Was Mullen put up to this by Obama to use as campaign fodder, as one poster suggested, or is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff going off the reservation?  Serious stuff either way. 

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

Mike knows what he is doing. This is the second time he has publicly said it.

The first time was around April this year I believe when CFR and other intel and policy agencies began to point out the unsustainbility of the debt scheme.

 

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't
Travlin wrote:

Some pretty wild comments in the readers' section following that article.  Will be interesting to see what media coverage this gets, assuming it is an accurate quote.  So what do you think?  Was Mullen put up to this by Obama to use as campaign fodder, as one poster suggested, or is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff going off the reservation?  Serious stuff either way. 

Travlin,

You weren't kidding about those comments.  Wow!  If one looks at the parallels between our country in its present form of functioning and the so-called banana republics and if one examines the lessons of history, it's not hard to see where all this is going.  I see a number of possible scenarios including: 

(1) The slow motion internal strife scenario

The country is fractionated and slowly torn asunder from within by a combination of issues including excessive debt (on both an individual and governmental level), overly burdensome taxes (in an attempt to pay for it all), illegal immigration and border dispute issues (primarily from Mexico and Central America), adverse religious/cultural/legal influences (with the greatest threat being Islamic in origin), etc.

(2) The rapid motion internal strife scenario

A military coup occurs or civil war develops (the former being more likely than the latter).

(3) The rapid motion external strife scenario

The country is plunged into an all out war (of a higher intensity and magnitude than the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts) with an external enemy or block of enemies to attempt to unify the nation, rally the economy, and cancel our debt. 

Number 3 would be my pick as it's time tested to stir things up enough that no one will pay attention to the original problems as there will be a whole new set of problems to deal with.

I have a hard time envisioning any of this ending well.

  

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

ao – Thanks for your thoughts.  I found your scenarios very helpful in trying to picture what may come.  As a long time reader of history I also see number three as the most probable.  I agree that a good ending is unlikely.

Jager06 – Since Mullen first said this in April, that means he is off the reservation, and he wouldn’t do that unless he thought it was critical.  On second thought, playing politics for military funding is part of the job for top commanders, and as long as he doesn’t venture into other political topics I guess he is still within standard practice.  But highlighting the national debt as a security threat seems to be walking the line.  My impression is that you have military experience which gives you insights I lack.  What do you see as the implications of this? 

Confirming quotehttp://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/27/debt.security.mullen/ 

Confirming data – Here is confirming data from a top level pentagon report that blew me away in its frankness.  I probably found it in another thread here, but it is worth posting again so as many as possible see it.  Starting on page 19 is a very clear exposition of our economic peril, and on page 24 peak oil.

 Travlin 

anton95's picture
anton95
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 22
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

The Harvard Economic Historian Niall Ferguson gave a presentation to the Petersen Institute just before the Summer, which was probably the best thing I have ever picked up from the Daily Digest (and there is some really really good stuff linked).

One of his conclusions is that once an empire (Spanish in 16th Century, Dutch in 17C, British in 19th/ early20thC) is paying more on interest than its military budget, it is Game Over as an empire.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Re: A Soldier Finally Gets What Economists Don't

Here is the missing link to the pentagon report JOE 2010 in post 5. http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/joe2010.pdf

anton95 -- Do you have a link or date for that in Daily Digest?  Sounds interesting. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments