I've not seen this discussed much, or at all. Everyone seems focused on the absurd and elusive reasons behind Governor Romney's desire to build 15 warships a year in this modern era. President Obama rightly called him out on it with his horses and bayonets zinger. Modern warships are vastly more powerful than their WWI counterparts, and thus one really needs fewer of them. Despite this, I've heard Governor Romney continue to speak about his 'vision' in stump speeches. Why is he so married to this idea?
Now some have made the point that Mitt's plan is a give away to the MIC, which it is. But that struck me as too easy of a reason. To me it felt like only half of the truth, though I hadn't an inkling what that other piece of the puzzle might be. But this morning, as I'm studying my new internet passion Modern Money Theory (thanks to recent diaries on DKos), it occurred to me what this other piece of the puzzle was. Namely, an admission by Governor Romney, though not explicit, that Keynesian policies work, and they are integral to his economic plans.
Continued below the orange bow wash...
We here at DKos have known for a long time that Republicans are rather hypocritical when it comes to spending government money. When Republicans are in power, deficits and spending don't matter; it's only when Democrats are in power that suddenly the debt, deficit, spending all become 'fiscal cliffs'.
The Republican leadership knows that government spending is one of the drivers of growth. That is why they spend when in power, that is why they don't balk at privately accepting stimulus money. But publicly they cynically use deficit and austerity talk to win over their base. So now that you've sold this lie to your base, how do you go about spending without being called to task?
Why the answer lies in Defense spending of course. No red-blooded red-stater is going to bad mouth defense spending. President Eisenhower used this same rhetorical trick to pass Interstate Highway funding...a national highway system being 'needed' for national defense coast to coast.
So Governor Romney knows he needs to spend money to jump start the economy...but how? By building 15 warships a year, and 'modernizing' the Navy...which is all quite expensive stuff...and is all part of the $2 Trillion that Governor Romney will use to increase base Defense spending. This money is then injected into the economy, ninja-Keynesian style. Because let's face it..building that many ships is simply ridiculous...it makes no sense other than to be a cover for Keynesian policies (and yes in the process, enrich the MIC).
I recall a few years back listening to NPR, and one of the hosts (possibly EJ Dionne?) made the remark that climbing out of the Great Depression really didn't require WWII..it only gave us a reason to spend so much money. He quipped that we could have simply built all those tanks and aircraft, shipped them 100 miles off the coast, and sank them. No war required, and the same resultant boost to the economy would have occurred. So why not spend on something really productive?
This is why we need President Obama back in office. He'll take that $2 trillion in savings from the war budget (ie, not the base budget) and put it to better use.