Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Squeezed by the Welfare-Warfare Vise


In my article “Brace Yourselves,” I pointed out that owing to the refusal of the American people and U.S. officials to slash either welfare-state spending or warfare-state spending, federal spending will continue to soar out of control. That will add to the ever-increasing amount of U.S. government debt. The Federal Reserve in turn will continue printing the money to pay off that soaring debt. That in turn will result in increased debasement of the dollar and possibly to a very serious monetary crisis, especially if the Chinese communists and other big holders of U.S. government debt decide to head for the exits one panicky day by dumping their debt holdings in international markets.

Given that this is an election year, I think most everyone would agree that there is no way that there is going to be any serious reduction in welfare-state spending. Over the decades, Americans have become as dependent on their welfare as an addict on heroin. Moreover, long ago government officials discovered the value of keeping the citizenry calm and pacified with welfare, especially during times of crisis. As I stated in my article, there is no possibility that either the American people or U.S. officials are going to abolish any welfare-state programs or even seriously reduce spending on them.

Last week the warfare boot dropped with the Pentagon’s announcement that proposed military spending in 2009 would reach a $515.4 billion. Adjusted for inflation, it will be the highest level of military spending since World War II.

Now, you might say that that expenditure is worth the military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, except for one thing. That half-a-trillion dollars doesn’t include any expenditures for Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s another $600 billion, which the Congress approves in supplemental budgets so that Americans remain confused over the total amount of military spending.

That means more than one trillion dollars for the Pentagon in 2009. Who would have ever predicted that, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the Pentagon was desperately looking for some new mission that could be used to justify its existence, including fighting the war on drugs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced over the weekend that it had accidentally killed nine “civilians” in Iraq. The “civilians” were Iraqi citizens who had been employed by the Pentagon to serve as “guardsmen.” Thinking that the targeted victims were members of “Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia,” U.S. military forces dropped some bombs on them, only to discover that they had bombed the wrong people.

Oh well, it’s just a few more deaths on top of the million Iraqis who have already been killed as a result of an invasion of a country whose government and citizenry never attacked the United States — an invasion that U.S. officials say is now justified by the fact that there are Iraqi people resisting the occupation of their country by a foreign invader.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq there was no al Qaeda in Iraq and there was no al-Qaeda of Mesopotamia in Iraq. After the invasion of Iraq, Iraqis began resisting the foreign occupation of their country, much as Afghani citizens began resisting the foreign occupation of their country following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It is those resisters to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, including al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, who now provide the principle justification for continuing the indefinite occupation of Iraq. Those were the resisters that those U.S. bombs were targeting when they accidentally killed the Iraqi “civilians” employed by the Pentagon as “guardsmen.”

In the mind of Pentagon officials, all that chaos, mayhem, and violence in Iraq (which didn’t exist prior to the U.S. invasion) confirms that the world is an unsafe place, which in turn confirms that the American people need to be spending more on the U.S. military-industrial complex than ever, in order to keep American free and safe.

The welfare-warfare vise continues to squeeze the American people, especially through a constantly depreciating currency to pay ever-increasing welfare-warfare expenses. Time will tell whether this turns out to be just another recessionary blip in the history of the welfare-warfare state or whether Americans are indeed facing a perfect storm of welfare-warfare crises.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.