Can you put a price on that?

Published by marco on

As noted in SOTU 2019: President Camacho holds forth, one of Trump’s giant applause points was when he said, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” The best parts of America are the socialist bits. Even the worst parts are socialist: members of the military live in a socialist paradise, with every part of their lives—room, board, insurance, etc.—paid for by the government.

The strongest opponents of socialism are the ones who live the most socialist of lives. The Congress is another example: they have lifelong insurance and pensions once elected to office.

That sounds like the government is making sure that soldiers and senators have less existential angst since they never need to worry about anything ever again. For the rest of us, though, it’s back to the coal mines. Their system isn’t going to pay for itself.

One way to predispose people against socialism is to create examples where it doesn’t work. Since it does tend to work, opponents are forced to cripple it first, then point out that it failed to provide the required services. This is a common tactic. As pointed out in the post Stop Socialism Act aims to reduce local government competition with private businesses (Reddit),

“Ironically, many of the things people love to bitch about with government are caused by trying to be too efficient. Take the DMV − if each worker costs $60,000 a year, then adding 2 people per location would vastly speed up their operations, and your taxes would go up maybe a penny a year. But because we’re terrified of BIG GUBERMINT we make a lot of programs operate on a shoe-string budget and then get frustrated because they aren’t convenient.”

We spend a tremendous amount of money on the military, don’t acknowledge its generally socialist nature and absolve it from “breaking even”. That is, the value provided by the military is presumed to be beyond the profit motive. You can’t put a price on security.

You can, apparently, put a price on education, health and well-being. Any of the bureaus charged with those tasks must show how they not only provide a social good, but also how they can turn a profit. If they don’t, then there is talk of privatization and outsourcing.

Granted, the U.S. military is also heavily outsourced and privatized now, but the budget is still 100% public. The private companies suckle at the teat of government largesse. Involvement of private industry in the military has—in no way—led to more efficiency and reduced cost.

In fact, unlike schools or hospitals, the military is completely free from accounting for what it does with its money at all. It is currently undergoing an audit of sorts—it’s clear that the outcome won’t affect future budgeting, in any way—during which it’s been discovered that the Pentagon can’t account for 21 billion dollars over the last decade or so.

America’s problem isn’t socialism—it’s imperialism. Its problem is that the imperialist arm is heavily socialist, while everything else is veering ever harder toward libertarianism. The military is crumbling at a slower rate than the rest of the infrastructure and society—thanks to its inherently socialist and non-accountable nature.