Keith Boyea's Blog

Notes & Commentary on National Security, Current Affairs and Bourbon

Piling on Robert Kagan

Thesis:  The second part of Robert Kagan’s idiocy is as idiotic as the first. 

Yesterday, Gulliver at Ink Spots did a fantastic job of analyzing Robert Kagan’s statement,” [The proposed cuts are] utterly irresponsible and dangerous to national security.  Also cowardly, since defense has no domestic constituency, while entitlements–the real source of our fiscal crisis–do.”  Gulliver himself was surprised he had to say it, but of course defense has a domestic constituency.

I wanted to critique the statement from another angle.  First, entitlements represent a promise the country has made to a particular group.  Social Security, unemployment assistance, Medicare and Medicaid all represent democratically enacted programs that are largely popular among the American people.  If, at some point, those programs become unsustainable, it is perfectly acceptable to renegotiate the terms of the promise.  However, that negotiation should occur during a negotiation of the subject.  What I mean is, if, for example, politicians want to raise the age of retirement for Social Security, it should be raised after a debate on the age of retirement, not after a debate on the proper level of the debt limit.

Second, a promise is a promise.  I recognize that unforeseen circumstances can make it difficult to make good on a promise, but you should still try to do everything you can to meet your promise.  Is there anyone that thinks we have done everything we can to meet our promises to our own people?

Lastly, Kagan makes it sound like the domestic constituencies for entitlements are a powerful group.  Compared to the defense industry, the entitlements people are stiffs.  There aren’t a lot of people lobbying for more benefits for the unemployed, but there are a lot of people lobbying for the purchasing of a second engine for the F-35.  If there is a discrepancy in power between the entitlements constituencies and the defense constituencies, it is in the defense industry’s favor.

I’m with Gulliver on this one, do these people really believe this stuff, or are they just liars?


Written by keithboyea

July 22, 2011 at 8:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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