December 18, 2004

Saving the Pentagon: A Balanced Approach

It's been called to my attention that the Pentagon has over $20 trillion in unfunded liabilities over an infinite time horizon. Believe me, I've done the math and found that Pentagon expenditures exceed tax receipts. More soldiers, in fact, believe in UFOs than believe they'll ever receive their paychecks!

At any rate, I have a plan to put this program back into balance. We'll borrow $4 trillion over the next decade, and allow every soldier to invest some of that the money in his or her own "Patriot Account". In order to get the Pentagon's long-term finances in order, we'll have to "claw back" the guaranteed salaries we promised those soldiers—but whatever, those guaratees were all a mirage anyways, as the chart above shows, and they'll more than make up that money with their private accounts.

Meanwhile, since all Americans should own a piece of our high-tech arsenal, we're going to make drastic cuts in Pentagon spending on procurement and R&D. (Remember, the department is unsustainable on its current course!) Instead, we'll allow each and every American to take some of the remaining $2 trillion we borrowed and invest it in a broad index of defense contractor stocks. The resulting "boom" in savings and investment will spur an era of military innovation like none other—phasers, ray guns, invisible spaceships. All owned by real Americans, like you and me. The return on private investment, meanwhile, will easily make up for the Pentagon's long-term $20 trillion budget hole. Congress, don't be scared. Come. Embrace my plan. Together we can save the Pentagon.
-- Brad Plumer 2:34 PM || ||