The U.S. Military: The Cost of the Sacred Cow

Criticizing the U.S. Armed Forces is largely taboo. For many, U.S. military programs are a sacred cows, something to be shielded from criticism and any sort of objection. Even those who are usually critical of other forms of government spending and growth balk at the idea of cutting military spending or reducing the U.S. military’s bootprint.
Indeed, even among many economists, issues surrounding the military and “national defense” more generally are largely immune from criticism. Consider, for example, that national defense is often the textbook example of a “pure public good.” A pure public good is one that is both “non-rival”

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