terça-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2011
TEc "Threatening a sacred cow" - The US defence budget comes under scrutiny and a light axe.
The US military establishment gauged by its human and material resources remains the most visible projection of American power worldwide.
That it's annual budget edges on a whopping $700bn bears testimony to the expensive nature of running a mammoth military-industrial complex.
As a slice of GDP money spent on it - (5%) - is not excessive. America's massive GDP makes the absolute value impressive on its own. Let alone if compared with that of the next biggest spender. Plus the 19 others combined.
Such direct currency-only comparisons, however, disguise the fact that $1 in China goes much further than the same $1 in the US.
Therefore a better standard for international comparative analysis might be made using the military equivalent of the PPP measure.
Except for hardware priced mostly in US$ in world markets, China does much more at home than their comparatively low military budget suggests.
The case to spend taxpayers' money on defence in the US spills over strictly the military.
Important sectors of America's industrial base, some of which at the cutting edge of technology and technical prowess rely partly, if not wholly, on purchases from or orders-to-specification made by the US Armed Forces. Not to mention military-driven R&D expenditure upstream.
This in turn has had an upward pulling effect on other leading civilian sectors of America's industry.
Best case in point underscoring how critical these investments are/were is the aerospace (aircraft plus spacecraft plus ancillary) industry and its amazing evolution following the end of WW2.
Sacred cow or not the defence budget set against a staggering public debt - clocking up every second - is enough cause for concern that any responsible Administration cannot overlook any more.
An immensely rich and resourceful nation must know its finite limits too.
Peacetime - despite the US still fighting a costly war far-away - is the best time to finetune sector budgets.
Rationally allocating public resources to every department including defence.In defence of the US defence budget is the overall balanced share of every component going into it - from pay to investment in weaponry.
A remarkable exercise in management and balanced housekeeping.