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Nuclear policy put in budgetary context by Taxpayers for Common Sense April 15, 2010

Posted by Matthew Leatherman in Briefing.
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Is money that is spent for seemingly-contradictory policy goals “wasted?”

That certainly is what our ideals would indicate.  Taxpayer dollars should be spent on goods and services of direct and coherent benefit to the country, and spending outside that is wasteful.

Reality is more complex.  Governing in Washington requires occasional hedges on policy changes to generate consensus.  In budgetary terms, that means spending on competing sides of an issue.

President Obama presently faces this trade-off with regard to his nuclear disarmament and securing WMD policy.  Per the newly-minted START treaty and Nuclear Posture Review, nuclear stocks are scheduled to decline and become more restricted, yet spending on our nuclear arsenal is requested to grow in FY11.

Taxpayers for Common Sense brings transparency to the situation in a commendable post. The argument associated with this report reinforces our norms and is well-reasoned.  The opportunity cost of following this argument, however, may be collapse in congressional support for START.  That leaves us with an uncomfortable decision – is uncompromising integrity to our norms more or less valuable than significant reductions in the world’s largest nuclear arsenals?

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