Mike Lofgren retired in June 2011 after 28 years as a staff member in the U.S. Congress. From 2005 until his retirement, Lofgren was a professional staff member of the Senate Budget Committee. His primary focus was on national security budgets, but he also worked on such matters as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the 2009 International Monetary Fund replenishment. From 1995 through 2004, he was budget analyst for national security on the majority staff of the House Budget Committee. In 1994 he was a professional staff member of the House Armed Services Committee’s Readiness Subcommittee. He began his legislative branch career as military legislative assistant to Rep. John R. Kasich in 1983. He has a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Akron. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study European history at the Universities of Bern and Basel in Switzerland and completed the strategy and policy curriculum at the Naval War College.
Since retirement, Lofgren has written about politics, budgets, and national security issues. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Monthly, Truthout, and Counterpunch. His essay on Congressional Republicans appearing in Truthout received over a million views. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV news interviews.
The public is so used to hearing of gridlock in Washington – bills to fund goverment that do not pass, threats of shutdown, debt ceiling crises – that it has become a cliché. But it is symptom of a larger crisis: a breakdown in governance because of across-the-board failures by our leadership class. This is as true in business as it government, and it is a subset of a global crisis of legitimacy. The laissez-faire, deregulation, globalization “model” that elites in this country and overseas have believed in for the last 30 years and still cling to, has broken down. Events sweeping the euro-zone and the Middle East are part of the same process. Simply changing which party controls Congress or sits in the White House will not solve the problem. There are solutions, but they will be painful.
Even after adjusting for inflation, America now spends more on its military than at the height of the cold war. It spends as much as the rest of the world combined. Yet after a military buildup unprecedented since World War II, America now has less influence in the world than it did 10 years ago, its economy is in precarious shape, and it is dangerously indebted to other countries. Chest-pounding rhetoric to the contrary, our military policies of the last decade have left us less prosperous, less secure, and less free. A course correction is desperately needed, regardless of what our entrenched and out-of-touch Beltway elites think.
TAGS: Economics, Politics