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High unemployment is good for war.

By       Message Lydia Howell     Permalink
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High unemployment is good for war.

Whether it's debt-ridden college graduates working as baristas or small
town youth with only fast-food and Wal-Mart as post-high school career
options, high unemployment keeps a volunteer military ranks full.

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Underemployment, whether the problem is low wages or part-time hours,
makes the National Guard and military reserves attractive for essential
cash for (the promised) one weekend a month. Unfortunately, more and
more "weekend warriors" are finding themselves in combat when they
thought they'd be helping with disaster relief in their local communities.

In spite of the current parroting that "only the private sector can
create jobs," government plays a critical role directly and indirectly. 

Building roads, bridges and other major infrastructure, running public
transportation, creating community-based services from daycare to
clinics and schools, investing in new technology such as clean,
renewable energy or research, such as the National Institute of
Health---all this government spending includes contracts to the private
sector that create jobs. Cut the spending and, inevitably, you cut jobs.

So, debates about the federal budget (as well as state and local ones)
are labor issues. That includes debating what gets a priority and what
does not.

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When seemingly endless wars and weapons-makers are given sacrosanct
status in budget discussions, workers lose.

Yes, corporations like Lockheed Martin have made sure that bombers and
the parts needed for them are made in as many states as possible, in
order to insure no cuts are made in their bloated, no-bid contracts.

When the newest high-tech plane doesn't work or there's no real need for
a particular Cold War-era weapons system, the cry of "You're CUTTING
JOBS" can always be raised to defend funneling billions into what
President Dwight Eisenhower called "the military-industrial complex".

Saying "Just put it on the charge card!" for the longest war in U.S.
history (Afghanistan) and the latest war-based-on-a-lie (Iraq) has
escalated the federal deficit.  The Tea Party mantra "cut spending"
means, to the politicial right, cutting other (non-military-related)
jobs. The "trickle-down" economics produces federal aid cuts to states,
then local government aid gets slashed, too, leading to"more job cuts.

This is a downward spiral that hurts workers, families and
communities---while not only not contributing to our security but,
instead, creating more enemies. How many Americans wake in the middle of
the night, worrying about terrorists as opposed to the millions who've
lost jobs or had their home foreclosed?

War is good for Big Business.

Corporations like Haliburton/KBR and Parsons have made out very well with their "cost-plus" contracts to "rebuild" in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

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They are guaranteed profits--whether they finish the job or not. Often,
they do shoddy work or have failed to do what they were hired for, but,
there's been little accountability. The Associated Press reported $5
billion wasted in just this way in Iraq.

Wouldn't the money have been better spent at home with contracts going
to small businesses that actually create 75 per cent of all new jobs?
Fraud-prevention and oversight of small, local businesses would be a lot
more possible---as opposed to huge multinationals working in a country
thousands of miles away deploying their armies of lobbyists and
"consultants" in Washington.

With Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other rightist governors and
Republican legislators assaulting workers' rights to union
representation and bargaining rights, another kind of war is heating up
at home.

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http://www.kfai.org/catalyst
Lydia Howell is a poet, lifelong activist and independent journalist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Winner of a 2007 Premack Award for Public Interest Journalism (writng for alternative press PULSE Newspaper) and a 1978 Dallas Press Club Award for (more...)
 

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