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After the Deficit Committee, A New Propaganda Push from the War Profiteers

By       Message Robert Greenwald       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Since the deficit committee officially failed to produce a plan as of last week, expect the war profiteer spin to hit the fan. Here's an early warning of what to expect, courtesy of Reuters last week:

Failure of a special congressional committee to strike a deficit-reduction deal is expected to unleash desperate lobbying by U.S. arms makers to get lawmakers to block $600 billion in automatic cuts.

Their weapon of choice: jobs.

Unfortunately for them, War Costs' new video exposes the truth about massive military budgets and employment: military spending is a job killer.

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But, don't expect the truth to get in the way of a good propaganda campaign.

The profiteer's agitprop push is already underway. Searching for "defense cuts" on Google early this morning already brings up articles high in the search feed from paid war-industry shills in the top results, notably a lengthy piece from Loren Thompson, perennial paid defender of massive military budgets (himself on the war industry dime). His argument, that Obama could lose the election due to job losses from military cuts, is one you better get used to seeing.

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This argument is part of a coordinated effort headed by war industry CEOs and their advocates on Capitol Hill to push elected officials to protect the massive, corruption-filled war budget by slashing social safety nets. This would be a disaster for our economy. As we show in our latest War Costs video, military spending costs jobs compared to other ways of spending the money, and Congress must cut this spending if we are to get out of this unemployment crisis.

Massive Military Budgets Cost Jobs

"If we're really serious about building anything approximate to a full employment economy, or at least getting us out of the damn recession, the best thing to do is to start cutting the military."

Robert Pollin is the co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He and his colleague, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, are working on a new update to an employment study that discusses the jobs impact of various kinds of government spending. PERI has a strong message for elected officials: if you are going to cut, cut the Pentagon budget.

Brave New Foundation's War Costs project spoke with Pollin and other experts several times over the past several weeks as press reports indicated a disposition among the many elected officials to spare the Pentagon from the cuts required to the budget by the debt ceiling law. The consensus of these experts--as opposed to those funded heavily by military money and war profiteers--is that the U.S.'s massive military budgets are terrible for job creation, and that the talking points coming from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the war-profiteer front campaign, "Second To None," are specious propaganda.

PERI's study uses Department of Commerce data to determine how many people are employed by various kinds of spending, including military, health care, green energy and education. They also examine the employment effects of basic consumer spending. Their discoveries, validated repeatedly as they've updated the study every two years since the original study in 2007, might startle those who bought the Washington consensus on military spending. In short, among the kinds of spending examined, military spending actually costs jobs compared to any other form. It's the only spending that scored worse than basic consumer spending, and it created far less than half the jobs created by education spending.

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Here are the numbers from their latest available study (.pdf):

Job Creation Per $1 Billion Spent:

  • Military: 11,200
  • Tax Cuts for Personal Consumption: 15,100
  • Clean Energy: 16,800
  • Health Care: 17,200
  • Education: 26,700

In short, at bare minimum, every billion dollars spent on the military costs at least 3,900 jobs compared to other spending types, and if compared to the best job creator from the study, education, $1 billion in military spending costs 15,500 jobs.

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Robert Greenwald is a producer, director and political activist; the founder and president of Brave New Films, a new media company that uses moving images to educate, influence, and empower viewers to take action around issues that matter. Under (more...)
 

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