What If We Asked The Military To Be Sustainable?

Yesterday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Joe Wilson slammed plans to cut military spending. Wilson complained, “the President is simply taking resources away from our military capabilities and using the funds to grow the size of government to promote more unsustainable domestic programs.”

What stood out to me when I heard Representative Wilson’s complaint is that he’s employing two very different standards for military spending and domestic spending. He categorizes domestic spending as growing the size of government, but when that same amount of spending takes place in the military, Wilson doesn’t complain at all about the growth in the size of government.

Wilson is outraged that domestic government programs are “unsustainable”, but how sustainable is the military? The military creates huge amounts of material that is simply blown up, run through, and cast away. The economic resources devoted to the creation of that material are gone for good. At least domestic government programs reinvest economic resources in American communities.

If Republicans like Congressman Joe Wilson applied their harsh conservative standards on spending to the military, the U.S. military would be a tiny fraction of its current bloated size. Our country would be, on the whole, more sustainable. We would all be the better off for it.

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