President Obama appears to hope his legacy as president will be to set the American military back in strength at least half a generation. Cutting the forces to numbers that haven’t been seen since before World War II would mean the United States would be relegated militarily to a far-second place compared to China, and be put into a position from where it could not keep its commitments to its allies in Europe and elsewhere without leaving the defense of the United States homeland with big holes in it.
Obama seems to want to take money from the military and spend it at home on roads and food stamps, but that’s not an even trade.
Transportation improvements are needed nationwide, but that requires long-term planning. It also requires leadership Obama isn’t used to giving. In his first term, he pledged nearly a trillion dollars for “shovel-ready” projects, but the actual number of such programs was quite limited. His goal was to stimulate the economy, but the effect of his initiative was limited by lack of any real knowledge of the nation’s actual transportation needs.
For example, many of the country’s highway and rail bridges need replacement. But there’s no program for replacement.
Another example: Urban planners are in love with mass transit, but they are wed to transit systems that for the most part are more for the benefit of transit unions than they are to the riders.
Also, he has no plan for the military, other than to shrink it. But there is a great need for the military to secure the nation’s borders so that immigration laws, present and future, can be enforced.
Also, the military is ever more dependent on research and development, to defend U.S. interests on land, at sea and in the air.
Can military spending be streamlined? Of course it can. Much of military spending is politicized by both Democrats and Republicans who see military spending as job-creation projects for their home states and districts. To rein that kind of spending in requires patient leadership by the president.
The nation’s military isn’t a piggy bank to be raided for other projects. Those other projects have to stand on their own.