Our One Opportunity To Cut Defense

On Sunday, Tyler Cowen embraced sequestration:

Half of the sequestration would apply to the military budget, an area where most cuts would probably enhance rather than damage future growth. Reducing the defense budget by about $55 billion a year, the sum at stake, would most likely mean fewer engineers and scientists inventing weaponry and more of them producing for consumers.

Ryan Avent agrees that defense spending “isn’t great stimulus” and thinks the key question is “whether the cuts can go through at acceptable economic cost”:

Where the payroll-tax cut could quite reasonably be expected to lapse as the economy improves (before it improves enough, as it happens), we can’t count on defence cuts being back on the table in a few years. Taking that into consideration alongside the Fed’s recent actions I’m not at all convinced that the sequester hitting would be a net negative for America. It’s not the policy I’d choose. But that is basically never a realistic possibility.