A free ride and a warm blanket
27 June 2011 | By Vanessa Drucker
All eyes were on the vote in the Greek parliament last Tuesday evening, when invitees gathered at Bloomberg's Manhattan headquarters.
We were there for a forum the impact of American government actions on international growth, hosted by the European American Chamber of Commerce and others. Yet one of the most interesting remarks of the panel touched on longer term events, thousands of miles from Athens.
Clyde Prestowitz, the president of the Economic Strategy Institute, repeated some recent remarks delivered by outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, regarding inevitable cutbacks in military outlays in Asia. As Americans are painfully aware, budgets for retirement, medical and military programs will be slashed. Military spending eats up billions of dollars, however you slice it. The budget for 2012, which covers homeland security, weapons and training, is projected at $881 billion (?553 billion), and that before adding in another $118 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (So far, a mere $78 billion in savings have been planned through 2016, a paltry 2% decrease in total security spending).