Some items of note:
- At the Liberty & Power blog, Robert Higgs takes a look at the Obama’s proposed military budget and finds that, as usual, it’s bigger than it looks.
It includes a 4.5% increase to the Pentagon’s budget, but also hides a lot of military spending in other categories (for instance the nuclear weapons spending in the Department of Energy, or what other countries call “defense” that the United States had to reinvent as “homeland security,” or our spending on foreign militaries via the State department).
Higgs estimates that about a third of U.S. military spending is not reflected in the Pentagon budget.
- In a follow-up post, Higgs reflects on how he struggled, during his time delving into the budgetary arcana, to keep the real-world effect of all of those numbers in mind. “Data are fine things; I’ve devoted much of my professional life to their examination and analysis. Yet it behooves all of us to realize that data may sometimes clothe madness or veil inhumanity, and to beware the power of numbers to lull us into an immoral sleep.”
- War Resisters’ International reports on a campaign called “Tag War.” This campaign attempts to draw attention to businesses that profit from contributing to war and violent conflict.
- Greek kiosk owners are throwing a one-day strike to protest an increase in tobacco taxes.