Speaker Ryan, We Need to Invest at Home

Speaker Ryan as quoted in “The Hill” on Tuesday 2 May 2017:

“Under the Obama rules, if you wanted to help the military, if you wanted a pay raise for the soldiers, if you wanted to buy new airplanes and new ships and more munitions, a dollar for that, you had to have a dollar domestic spending. We just broke that parity,” Ryan said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

“That’s the biggest victory we could have had — $25 billion year over year for our military, to begin to rebuild our military, without that kind of corresponding increase in domestic discretionary spending. That, to me, is very important,” he added.

What Speaker Ryan gets wrong is that domestic spending DOES have an impact on the lives of most Americans. An increase in military spending is good for some Americans. The shareholders (and executives and lobbyists) of the companies that make weapons are happy to see more money in the defense budget. They can make new airplanes and ships and munitions to use wherever the president decides that they are needed.

Those same dollars, directed to replacing our falling-apart infrastructure here in the United States, would provide a far bigger stimulus. They would provide good jobs to middle and working class Americans who would in turn put that money back into the economy, and they would also provide a long term benefit to the country by ensuring that we have safe roads and a globally competitive education system.

Ultimately, Speaker Ryan should be embracing, not avoiding the idea that the people of our nation will benefit far more from roads and schools than from the ability to kill people in other countries.

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