I participated in a debate at The New York Times today. The basic question is "What Federal Spending Are We Better Off Without?" and the main page is here.
Here's a snippet from my contribution:
Much of what the feds spend money on is either unnecessary or ineffective … or both. The sequestration and the shutdown force voters and politicians to engage in serious and hopefully consequential cost-benefit analyses….
Then there's Defense, which is one of the single-biggest items in the federal budget. The U.S. accounts for 40 percent of global expenditures on military might and, in real dollars, our defense spending rose nearly 80 percent between 2001 and 2012. As the shutdown entered its second week, The Dayton Daily News reported that the Pentagon is sending half a billion dollars' worth of "nearly new" cargo planes to a storage facility in Arizona, where they will join $35 billion worth of other unnecessary aircraft and vehicles.
When leaders like Representative Nancy Pelosi claim "there's no more cuts to make," I have to wonder whether they are tripping on powerful hallucinogens – whose availability undercuts another unnecessary, ineffective and costly federal program: the war on drugs.