Posted by Doug Bandow on 10/27/10 10:34 AM
Republicans are against government spending. Except when they are for it.
Justin Logan of the Cato Institute recently made this point:
There's been a lot of talk on the right in recent months about President Obama's "socialist" policies. While much of that talk seems overheated, so does the furious pushback from the left. Would President Obama's domestic policies really be so out of step in what in Europe would be called a "Social Democratic" party? I don't think so. But for understandable Hartzian reasons, lots of American liberals seem to get squeamish about allegations of socialism.
However, Republicans may want to examine the plank in their own eyes before casting aspersions on the one in the eyes of Democrats. Military Keynesianism has long been a centerpiece in the Republican platform, and it still is.
If government spending inefficiently diverts money from the productive private sector, it does so whether the end result is public housing or advanced submarines. The latter may be necessary for America's defense, but then that is the reason, and the only reason, to spend money on the military. Not because building unnecessary tanks "creates jobs."
The Tea Party movement can do much to improve American politics. One of its most important tasks is simply to hold both major parties to account for their inconsistencies and hypocrisies. And "military Keynesianism" is a good place to start.