A. Barton Hinkle on Why Defense Cuts Are Not the End of the World


Say you run a business in a bad neighborhood. You've been paying a security company to keep your employees and property safe. You're deeply in debt. Now the neighborhood has gotten better. You don't need as much security anymore—so you plan to cut back. The security service says if you do that, some guards could lose their jobs. It needs you to keep spending what you have so they can stay employed.

Is this a good argument for you to keep paying what you always have? Of course not. Yet that's the case being made by politicians in Virginia and across the nation about defense spending and sequestration.

It's a little rich to hear conservative Republicans treat national security as if it were a federal jobs program. For decades, writes A. Barton Hinkle, conservatives have denounced government as inherently bloated, bureaucratic, inefficient, and wasteful—a parasite that sucks the lifeblood out of the private sector. What's changed?