Paul Waldman wonders why so many politicians and policy makers think that the US needs a bigger military. After all, he asks, which of our many wars of the past half century was started because our military was too small? Precisely. So it's not really about defense, is it?
Mr. Waldman's article reminds me of something that I read years ago. Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, but it goes something like this. Lord Salisbury, who was the British Prime Minister several times between 1885 and 1902, once said in exasperation that his military advisers would garrison the moon to ward off an attack from Mars.
I think of Salisbury's remark whenever I read of renewed calls to enlarge our already huge military.
Once you've warmed to the topic after reading Professor Krugman's article, then you might want to look at another post on the austerity delusion. There you'll find an informative video from Professor Mark Blyth on the politics of austerity.
I added that parenthetical "continuing" since Mr. Edsall has been writing about this sort of thing since at least the early 1990s, when he co-authored a book entitled Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics. I read that book when it first appeared in hardback. Even though it's over twenty years old, it's still as relevant today as it was back then.
Thomas Frank looks at the swindle being perpetrated by higher education.
Because I worked as an adjunct for a decade before I left academia in 2003, I can fully appreciate Frank's remarks about part-time faculty. But I also felt the poignancy of his remarks about wildly overpriced textbooks, rampaging administrators, and ballooning student debt.