Thursday, September 04, 2014

New column day

Here, questioning whether Canadians share Stephen Harper's newly-professed aspiration to spend tens of billions of dollars more every year to prop up U.S. and U.K. military contractors.

For further reading...
- David Pugliese reported on this week's NATO summit.
- NATO's most recent spending calculations are here (see PDF link), showing that Canada currently spends about 1% of GDP on its military. Note that while this number pegs Canada's current spending at about $18.4 billion per year, I reference the $19 billion figure used by both government and outside sources in the previous link.
- While some of us think it's worth asking whether military spending is actually intended to accomplish anything in particular, at least some Very Serious People are arguing that there's nothing more important than spending gobs of money to prove that we're indeed Very Serious.
- By way of comparison to the price of meeting the proposed military spending standard, see here and here (PDF) for estimates of the raw cost of national child care and pharmacare plans respectively. (In the latter case, I treat the added price of additional use as reflecting the new cost of a federal plan.)
- Finally, Jim Stanford rightly highlights how Canada has ignored another international funding target in the form of a significantly smaller foreign aid commitment. But I'd think it's well worth recognizing a contrast between the two which fits the theme of my column: helping those who need it most seems to fit perfectly as something worth aspiring to, while it's hard to see what normative value there can be in arbitrary military spending numbers.

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