By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press / Oct. 27, 2012
Mitt Romney has a jobs creation plan if he becomes President, alright. But no one, including Mitt Romney himself, is talking about it.
Remember the $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military? That $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military which the Pentagon doesn’t even want (but Defense contractors certainly do) translates into a huge jobs program.
What Romney is really advocating here is more government spending, but government spending of the right wing socialism (otherwise known as fascism) sort: a military buildup, exactly the kind of military buildup that got Hitler’s Germany and Roosevelt’s America out of the Great Depression.
While Obama is advocating left wing government spending – spending on infrastructure, research and development, clean energy, education and social programs to help the poor – Romney’s jobs program represents government spending on the military reinforcing the US as a national security state. Military spending represents a huge jobs program for individuals and defense contractors that work in the military-industrial complex and are hugely invested in war and the build-up towards war. And Romney is counting on all these people to vote for him.
If you figure that government can create a job by spending $100,000. into the private sector including wages, overhead, management and profit, $2 trillion over 10 years represents 2 million jobs. Do the math! $2 trillion over 10 years is $.2 trillion per year. .2 trillion divided by 100,000. is 2 million. These jobs will also have multiplier effects as the defense contractor employees spend their paychecks into the local communities for houses, cars, TV sets and everything else that consumers spend their money on.
In other words defense related jobs will become – even more than they are now – the engine of the economy. And the US will be invested even more than it is now in the fact that defense work is the basis of its economy, thus making the US in to a national security state. When Romney says he will create 12 million jobs and “I know how to do it.”, spending $2 trillion on the military-industrial complex and the multiplier effect from that spending is where those 12 million jobs will come from.
Of course, the same amount of money having the same multiplier effects could be invested in rebuilding America. It could be invested in roads and bridges, a smart electrical grid, renewable energy that will not change the chemical composition of the atmosphere, undergrounding utilities on a national level so that they don’t have to be re-erected after each hurricane and tornado and high speed rail equivalent to the rest of the world’s advanced economies.
But these potential industries don’t have armies of lobbyists in Washington, DC whose job it is to convince Congressmen to vote for ever more funding for the military-industrial complex. And the Lockheed Martins and Northrop Grummans of the world along with Republican politicians will also do their best to convince the American people that we need even more in the way of Defense spending than we have now. That’s why they run so many TV ads.
The Defense Department’s $680 billion budget pays for over 3.1 million employees, both military and civilian. Another 3 million people are employed by the defense industry both directly and indirectly, such as working in local businesses where the military-industrial complex employees spend their take home pay. The Department of Defense is the single largest employer in the United States. More than the post office and Wal-Mart combined! There are multiple millions of contractors whose jobs are directly related to defense.
The military/defense industry is San Diego’s second largest economic sector, bringing more than $13 billion into the local economy annually. The Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island, Naval Station San Diego, and Naval Submarine Base are among San Diego’s military installations. In the 1970s I worked for the Naval Electronics Laboratory (NEL) for six years.
It has since undergone several name changes to protect the guilty – Naval Electronics Laboratory Center (NELC), Naval Ocean Systems Command (NOSC), Naval Research and Development (NRAD), and now it has been absorbed into SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command). The point is though that before every election a wave of fear goes through the entire plant because, if a Democrat were to be elected, there would be a reduction in military spending and people would lose their jobs in a RIF (Reduction in Force). There was considerable pressure to vote Republican to prevent that from happening so people could continue to feed their families.
Lockheed Martin employs 123,000 people worldwide. In 2009 US Government contracts accounted for $38.4 billion (85%) of its budget. In 2011 I wrote this on Will Blog For Food:
“This is from “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex,” by William D Hartung:
It is a striking ad. An intimidating combat aircraft soars in the background, with the slogan up front in all capital letters: 300 MILLION PROTECTED, 95,000 EMPLOYED. The ad—for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor fighter plane—was part of the company’s last-gap effort to save one of its most profitable weapons from being “terminated,” as they say in standard budget parlance. The pro—F-22 ad ran scores of times, in print, on political websites, and even in Washington’s Metro. One writer at the Washington Post joked that at a time when many companies had been cutting back on their advertising budgets, Lockheed Martin’s barrage of full-page ads in February and March 2009 was the main thing keeping the paper afloat.
When an arms company starts bragging about how many jobs its pet project creates, hold on to your wallet. It often means that the company wants billions of dollars’ worth of your tax money for a weapon that costs too much, does too little, and may not have been needed in the first place. So it is with the Raptor, which at $350 million per plane is the most expensive combat aircraft ever built. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has suggested that the F-22 needs to be cut because even with wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has never been used in combat. In fact, in its first “mission”—flying to Japan for deployment at a US air base there—the plane had technical difficulties and had to land in Hawaii, far short of its final destination.
Other top players besides Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are General Dynamics, Boeing and Raytheon. Located on San Diego Bay, and part of General Dynamics Marine Systems, NASSCO has been building ships for commercial customers and the U.S. Navy since 1960. NASSCO is the last vestige of General Dynamics’ prescence in San Diego. At one time it was San Diego‘s largest employer. Now it is a bit player.
I also worked for General Dynamics Convair for three years in the 1970s. During the time I was employed there, I wrote a muckraking article for the original paper version of the San Diego Free Press. What I remember from the article was that somebody at General Dynamics came up with the brilliant idea that, in order to get out of paying local property taxes, it could sell its plants to the Federal Government and then lease them back. The Federal Government does not have to pay local property taxes, and voila, General Dynamics’ profits would go up albeit at the expense of local schoolchildren.
In 1994 most of the company’s divisions were sold to McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed, with the remaining components deactivated in 1996.So the plane is a piece of shit, but it creates jobs, jobs, jobs. And jobs are what the country needs, right? And more profits for Lockheed Martin and higher salaries for Lockheed Martin’s CEO. Not to mention the lobbying industry. Those poor suckers need jobs too—desperately.”
Given that the Defense Department creates jobs, what most people don’t know is that other industries are simply better at it. For instance, $1 billion spent on clean energy, health care or education would do far more for job creation than $1 billion spent by the Pentagon, a group of researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst concluded.
Every billion dollars the Defense Department gets generates 11,600 jobs, their study contends, whereas that same investment would produce 17,100 in clean energy jobs, 19,600 in health care jobs and 29,100 in education jobs. Why isn’t Obama touting the fact that less government spending than Romney proposes, when spent on rebuilding America, would produce even more jobs than Romney’s proposed spending on the military?
If Obama is reelected, he should take the $2 trillion Romney wants to give the military-industrial complex and spend it on infrastructure, clean energy, a national smart grid, high speed rail, education, research and development and other peaceful pursuits in order to rebuild and strengthen America. To continue and double down on right wing government spending on the military only reinforces America’s role as a national security state, one in which the only jobs created are related to war.
The only problem is that Obama could never get a program of this sort passed by a Republican controlled House and/or Senate. That is why, unfortunately, the US will never do the things it needs to do in order to remain a great nation.