Superpower or Spendthrift?

Lawrence J. Korb argues in the National Journal that the rate of current defense spending cannot continue.

Post World War II, American presidents going back to Eisenhower have recognized that our national security must stand on a firm economic foundation. They have therefore kept defense under control by holding down defense spending. Even Ronald Reagan recognized this: When his supply side economics did not work as intended in his first term, he reduced defense spending in his second term to help rein in the growing budget deficits. Moreover, when we went to war, as we did in Korea and Vietnam, and defense spending had to increase, Presidents Truman and Johnson raised taxes, cut some social programs, and employed the draft to help keep the budget in balance.

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Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow