Government vs. State, Again

Matt Ygelsias, commenting on Spencer Ackerman’s dispatch on the armed services’ plans to resist cuts in their budgets, nicely illustrates the antagonism between democratic government and the permanent state:

Note that “the services’ legislative outreach and public-affairs offices” are technically part of the United States government. Indeed, they’re technically not supposed to be doing any lobbying at all. In fact, they regularly lobby congress against positions taken by the civilian leadership of the United States and on behalf of the defense contractors they’re hoping will employ them post-retirement. 

Part of what you’re doing when you’re paying taxes is paying for functionaries of the permanent state apparatus to lobby the elected government to ensure that you never stop paying the taxes that finance their “vital functions.”

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