Study: Defense spending is ‘weak job engine’

Study: Defense spending is ‘weak job engine’

Pentagon and Hill defense advocates have all kinds of numbers about the economic benefits of defense spending, and the potential consequences if it’s cut deeply: More than a million jobs lost. Ten percent unemployment. Key industrial capabilities lost forever.

But a new study out Tuesday says that whatever its impact, the defense budget is not the best way for the government to create jobs.

In fact, authors Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier — of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst — conclude that defense spending is not only less effective than other forms of “stimulus,” it’s also less effective than just general consumer spending.

Per the university’s announcement:

As in the previous editions of their study, they find unequivocally that government spending on the military is a far weaker engine of job growth than are investments in clean energy, health care, or education, and is even weaker than spending the same amount on household consumption.

Since mid-2011, the impact of military spending on job creation has been discussed as a component of the broader debate on how to reduce the federal government’s fiscal deficit. This study, “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,” clarifies that debate.

Congressional debates on deficit reduction have highlighted the assertion that large cuts in the military budget would produce negative impacts on jobs in the U.S. economy. The Pentagon itself suggested that military cuts in the range of $1 trillion over the next decade would add one percentage point to the U.S. unemployment rate. But whether or not this particular forecast is accurate, the most important question is not the absolute number of jobs that are created by spending a given amount. It is rather whether spending that money on the military creates a greater or lesser number of jobs relative to spending the same amount on alternative public purposes, such as education, health care or a clean-energy economy, or having consumers spend that amount of money any way they choose.

As Pollin and Garrett-Peltier show, in comparison to alternative uses of funds, spending on the military is a poor source of job creation. They find that $1 billion spent on the military will generate about 11,200 jobs. By contrast, spending those funds on alternative purposes would create 15,100 jobs for household consumption, 16,800 jobs for clean energy, 17,200 jobs for healthcare, and 26,700 jobs for education.

Those are total jobs, not those created directly by federal spending. For example, in the case of defense, $1 billion buys 6,800 “direct jobs,” Pollin and Garrett-Peltier write, and the rest are created by the ripple effects. What’s more, the authors say, defense spending tends to benefit mostly high-skill, “high-credential,” workers, whereas the other areas of focus include more opportunities for more types of employees.

The PERI study is interesting — clearly intended as a shot across the bow of the Iron Triangle and an arrow for the quiver of congressional Democrats. Pollin and Garrett-Peltier conclude by writing this: “By addressing social needs in the areas of clean energy, health care and education, we would also create many more job opportunities overall as well as a substantially larger number of good jobs.” See? It’s about Ameliorating Social Needs, which happens to coincidently have the effect of employing people.

Their argument, in other words, is the exact same one made by defense advocates. The Pentagon budget isn’t a jobs program, boosters say — it’s a small fee we must pay in order to Provide for the Common Defense, as stipulated by this old piece of paper called the U.S. Constitution. (Maybe you’ve heard of it.) So defense spending is about Protecting our Freedoms, which happens to coincidently benefit corporate campaign contributors and protect home-district bases, factories and shipyards.

The problem for both sides now is that Washington has ground to a halt. No one can accomplish anything. The capital probably may not be able to ameliorate or provide for anything until at least early 2013 — if then.

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A study performed by an eco-economic “progressive” minded university funded non-associated organization that focuses on economics of globilization and emergining nations.…right. Now there is an organization I can belief had no vested interest in proving that investing in long term highly technical engineering and high-technology manufacturing did nothing compared to investing in unproven, immature minimum wage employment would. Why would one even publish their report?

“Clean Energy” investments have been proven to create jobs. Sadly, those jobs have largely moved to China. Take a look at how well the “Clean Energy” push in Spain has gone to see where that will take us and it is not pretty. Spening on Education sounds good but K-12 education is traditionally funded at the local level and is well funded in many states. Just how or I should say where is this money supposed to be spent on education? To me it sounds like the ultimate pork barrel opportunity where Senator Leghorn can dole out millions to the precincts and counties that supported him. .
Consumer Spending? How is that one to be handled? Give even MORE moeny out to the people who already don’t pay taxes? I’ll bet that’s going to help create new skills, foreign sales and long term growth (not)

Funny, it worked just fine for President Reagan.

I think the point is being missed; we don’t spend on defense to create jobs, we spend on defense to create a viable military force that can be used for defense if needed. Recession or no recession, frighteningly incompetent elected thugs and/or officials or no, that never changes.…

Defense Spending: A Weak Liberal Vote Buying Engine.
A new study out today from the John Boyd Academy of Air to Air Combat says that whatever its impact, the defense budget is not the best way for encumbent politicians to buy votes. In fact, author Amicus Curiae, the Dean of the Academy, concludes that defense spending is not only less effective than other forms of “stimulus,” it’s also less effective than just general government giveaways.

Exactly right. It is to defend the nation not to create jobs. I can create more employment right now let’s draft all the Occupy Wall Street idiots and next stop Iran, Syria or North Korea, hehe!

New? They slapped a new coversheet on the same 2009 turd ‘updated’ and redropped back in September. [see :http://​battleland​.blogs​.time​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​9​/​2​1​/​s​t​u​d​y​-​f​e​d​e​r​a​l​-​s​p​e​n​d​i​n​g​-​o​n​-​d​e​f​e​n​s​e​-​d​o​e​s​n​t​-​c​r​e​a​t​e​-​a​s​-​m​a​n​y​-​j​o​b​s​-​a​s​-​e​d​u​c​a​t​i​o​n​-​s​p​e​n​d​i​ng/ ‘The Political Economy Research Institute’ is a “data for dollars” outfit serving the aging ‘peacenik’ hipster community, and if you check the web, the only people who noticed were the other anti-defense groups! — no mainstream traction at all. Nick Schwellenbach’s Battleland ‘piece’ (see link) didn’t even float well at the source — the few comments it received pretty well exposed it for what it was.

Background for the uninitiated:
First ‘Defense’ is not a ‘jobs’ issue except to the political hacks. If it helps them sleep at night. Fine by me.
Second. Any examination of the lead “trust-fund baby” author (http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​R​o​b​e​r​t​_​P​o​l​lin), the ‘center’ (http://​www​.peri​.umass​.edu/​1​90/) the ‘study’s original ‘sponsors’ (the delightfully named WAND see http://​www​.discoverthenetworks​.org/​g​r​o​u​p​P​r​o​f​i​l​e.a… and thier current backers( http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​e​n​t​e​r​_​f​o​r​_​A​m​e​r​i​c​an_… will turn up nothing but hard core liberal activism and peace at any cost idealism.
But what I REALLY, REALLY hate most about their drivel is that with each progressive release of this so-called ‘study’ they have omitted more and more information about their models and techniques. This is merely a pure advocacy hit-piece and is no more a study report than is this comment thread. Right now, even their ‘findings’ do not appear rational (except perhaps to true believers). I’d wager just a copy of their ground rules and assumptions would reveal just how they got their GIGO.

PART 2 correction (odd it didn’t post correctly the first time. too many links?)
Should read:
“trust-fund baby” author (http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​R​o​b​e​r​t​_​P​o​l​lin),
the ‘center’ (http://​www​.peri​.umass​.edu/​1​90/)
the ‘study’s original ‘sponsors’ (the delightfully named WAND see http://​www​.discoverthenetworks​.org/​g​r​o​u​p​P​r​o​f​i​l​e.a
and thier current backers( http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​e​n​t​e​r​_​f​o​r​_​A​m​e​r​i​c​an_
will turn up nothing but hard core liberal activism and peace at any cost idealism.

The authors make the mistake of comparing the defense industry to other industries, of course it’s a joke when that comparison is made. Because the defense industry isn’t like a conventional industry it’s really more a welfare system. It’s where America parks it’s losers.

If you are a negatively productive engineer or an incompetent manager who cant manage to schedule or budget or simply young and healthy and badly educated, opting out of the real economy and going full time on military welfare looks pretty enticing.

The real comparison should be with the other social programs. Should we not concentrate spending on the sick and elderly rather than the young and healthy, on education to raise our competitiveness rather than bolt holes for the uncompetitive to hide. Given that a dollar spent in commercial R&D is 25 times as efficient as one spent on military R&D why are we throwing away our technological advantage by wasting huge amounts of money on Lockheed and Boeing.

The answer is that there are two types of American now, those that think we have a future as a globally competitive economy and those that it is impossible and that you should just loot as much as possible look out for oneself and to hell with the American economy. Unfortunately the military is dominated by the later.

The high technical education is not K12. Is much higher …

Exactly… don’t spend on education and then I want to see later on where you gonna get the eng. formation to balance the huge numbers of them being produced annually in asia. Remember in 18/19 century where the best universities where … what happened in 20 century …where best universities went and where power went? …to the US.… now let Asia get the best universities and we’ll shall see.

We also gain future technologies from current defense expenditures.

It is YOU who are the joke. Of course the defense industry is unlike other industries. The defense industry has only ONE customer — the same customer that is continually telling the defense industry what to do & how to do it AND making doing so more & more difficult. You will find some of the best & brightest in the defense industry, it is in GOVERNMENT where you find the negatively productive, incompotent ‘losers’.

We SHOULD concentrate spending on what the Constitution mandates instead of playing Robin Hood (taking from the rich & to giving to the poor).

The two type of Americans are those you recognize that it is the free market that made the US the globally dominant economy of the 20th century & that if the Governement would get out of the way that the free market would ensure it remains so in the 21st century and those with disdain for the (as they see it unfair) free market & US being the globally dominant economy & use Government to ‘knock down’ the free market & the US. What the latter fail/refuse to realize is that knocking down those at the top does NOTHING to help those at the bottom…

Clean energy is a fucking joke, that create nothing in new jobs, all of the clean energy products come of China, in Europe we do that and look where is the European economy now, a lot of unemployed. If the clean energy was a response all of the conutry on the planet do that, but the defense spending is the way to create high value jobs.

I seriously hope you’re joking and I just didn’t catch the sarcasm. “Green” jobs have been PROVEN to create jobs? It’s actually 100% the opposite. Sure, if the company gets a huge infusion of cash from the tax payers will cause them to hire some people, and then lay off many more when it inevitably goes belly up. “Green” energy is not viable yet without massive government spending. Mostly because the technology doesn’t work yet. But using Spain as your model was utterly laughable.. yes, by all means go look at what their green push has done TO them (not FOR them). That country is on the verge of collapse. This is not even hard information to find…

The failure of PERI’s analysis is that it treats the job’s arguement as sole foundation for stable military spending, relative to investing money elsewhere. The position made by the Pentagon is more of a contributing factor and not the sole detemining one. Defense spending does “X,Y, and Z” but just because some other spending does “X+” doesn’t mean its better. One of PENI’s more accurate positions is that Defense spending creates more higher credentialed jobs while other spending creates more diverse jobs, but it fails to grasp that its weighing the depth of experiance versus volume of less skilled labor. This emphasis on higher credentials and experiance over volume of jobs is an important one, its the difference between us and China’s military developement. Higher credentials and depth of experiance also means individuals in the defense industry have less flexible job option so if the Government cuts defense spending you have more people who aren’t just unemployed, but unemployed and disproportionately more unlikely to find a new job.

Solendra anybody?

JSF anybody? Really.…. $700 hammer? How many military programs have been pushed by a member of Congress despite what the military leaders wanted? THAT’S THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!

“only an idiot decides what to invest in defense on the basis of how many jobs it will create.”

Email that statement to Congress. By that definition they are a giant room full of idiots.

Yes, I would definately trust PERI, a left wing socialist organization, to objectively evaluate this topic.

Suprisingly the outcome is to recomend defense cuts to pay for social programs.

Figures lie and Liars figure.

Errr.… your point is????? LOL!

If so, afraid you would also perhaps have to mail a copy to my old buds in the HqAF who made shure that SOME part that went into the B-1 and B-2 was produced in EVERY congressional district, no matter what that did to the cost of the program!! Then we might get into the arguement of placing the correct portion of the blame on the junkie or the pusher.

In the real world though, if such “under the table” games were not played, we could well be looking today at a heavy bomber force consisting of only of the omnipresent but ancient B-52s.… ..

Good Morning Folks,

Since most of you get you income from the defense industry in one way or another I would expect any kind of rational opinion on this topic.

The fact is defense spending produces zero in GDP growth, it is simply a closed loop spending of tax payers money that but a social disposable social goods. Welfare payments, that require less overhead burden and recycle rapidly back into the economy are actually more productive for the economy because none of it goes into management bonuses or stock holder return on equity.

In the civilian economy the rule of thumb is for every $ billion it creates 10,000 jobs. As stated defense spending for a $ billion buck only creates 6,800 jobs or in other words defense spending for job growth is inefficient by 32%. Where does seepage of tax payer money go?


Byron Skinner

Be a dear and show us the specific text in the Constitution that makes it mandatory for US taxpayers to hand over hundreds of billions of dollars to multinational corporations in exchange for being years and years behind in developing and delivering flawed weapon systems. Please.

And BTW, there has never been “free market” economy in the US. Ever. Crony capitalism, bought-and-paid-for political favoritism, and corporate welfare is not that mythical deity so adored and idolized by the pious neo-con and Randian faithful.

IOW, Sorry Virginia, but there really is no benevolent “Invisible Hand” who is going to bring you all those glizty sensor-fused 5th Gen Buck Rogers fantasy goodies you so desire …

You are still missing the point; we do not spend money to build weapons and train soldiers because we will make a profit from it or create a job. We do it to protect ourselves and be ready to compete on our planet’s battlefield.….

Thats why I clearly said that it (Spain’s experience with Green Jobs) was not pretty.

Slight disagreement. I’ve worked on a lot of different programs and generally its the primes who go out and source from the proverbial “one from every state (or district)” as opposed to the service itself. The Primes are very aware of how important it is to involve a wide swath of legislators as opposed to just the ones that are near bases and the prime’s facility. Remember that some of the participating companies are only making a $50 actuator or $25 hydraulic seal

Where are we not spending on education? The US spends a very high amount on education and the result is a university system that attracts many students from around the world.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce:
The United States posted a trade surplus in
aerospace and defense products of
$44.8 billion in 2005. This segment of the
economy was one of the largest positive
contributors to the U.S. trade balance.
U.S. aerospace and defense exports represented
8% of all U.S. merchandise exports
to the world in 2005.
Foreign defense sales have employed
55,000–70,000 American defense workers
and hundreds of subcontractors during the
past decade.
But yes, instead of highly trained defense workers that prevent the trade deficit from being even worse we can hire 3X as many unskilled workers who provide no useful product whatsoever.

Suuuure we do. Guess that’s why the patriotic prime defence contractors always make sure that their suppliers are selected solely on the basis of cost and performance rather than on whose congressional districts they happen to be in.

Because when the good folks running Lockheed Martin say “We never forget who* we’re working for ™”, they damn well mean it!

*Themselves and their shareholders, foreign and domestic…

I’ve been involved in source selctions on a number of major programs and, especially in the case of high value items and subcontracts, the geography has never been a part of the decision. When a program team is just trying to involve additional districts/areas, that is usually done with fairly low level hardware or processes. like Screws, Nuts, Paint, Heat Treat, etc.

I’m sure there are a stack of valid reasons for spreading production of weapons across the country. My issue is with members of Congress that place keeping jobs in their district instead of what might be better for the nation as a whole. Davis also said “no amount of job creation should justify buying what we don’t need.” Last year when Gates started making very specific examples of places to save money, members of Congress started coming out of the woodwork to say NIMBY as loud as they could. My favorite example was Senator Brown from Ohio flat out saying “I’ll help Secretary Gates save money in the budget, as long as it doesn’t affect Ohio.” With that attitude how can you trust Congress to spend wisely? Now we’re not just talking about where to spend money, but very specifically where not to spend it. As far as blaming Congress or the USAF, isn’t it the former’s job to pull the reigns when something looks out of whack?

Yep– Solyndra created lots of… um.…oh. Bankrucpty and theft of taxpayer money. They call them GREEN jobs because they CONSUME THE GREEN without producing.…jobs or anything else. I’d rather have a jet plane.

Try READING the Constitution yourself…but since that is obviously too much to ask try the preamble, Article 1 Section 8 & Article 2 Section 2.

And it is the US GOVERMENT which causes weapons systems to be years behind & flawed.

The rest of your post does not even make sense.

But perhaps a thousand of those $50 actuators (and the follow on overhaul support, spars, etc) was enough to buy a letter of support to some congressional delegation.… ..

The primes certainly had the lead on “spreading the wealth” but I never heard anyone from the DoD try to reign in that process! :-)

We, sir, are in violent agreement!

I dont think that our Canadian allies would appreciate the mass exodus of the Occupiers fleeing across the border….… ROTFLMAO!

The authors seem to have missed an important point. $1 trillion is the cut, not to be spent on something else. Additionally, non-defense discretionary spending must also be cut by $500 billion.

You can tell these guys were not around when “Jimmy” cut the defense budget. Since this report came from Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, you know this is one sided and not really accurate.

What do you expect from a Liberal Left Wing, DemocRAT controlled place

Actually, the report was prepared was prepared by PERI for the well known leftist and Soros funded Center for American Progress. http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​e​n​t​e​r​_​f​o​r​_​A​m​e​r​i​c​an_.… Completely discredited.____Nice try libtards, no one believes this tripe, but you keep trying!!

Right sentiment, crackedlenses, but I think that’s exactly what Philip meant in the second-to-last para:

“Their argument, in other words, is the exact same one made by defense advocates. The Pentagon budget isn’t a jobs program, boosters say — it’s a small fee we must pay in order to Provide for the Common Defense, as stipulated by this old piece of paper called the U.S. Constitution. (Maybe you’ve heard of it.) So defense spending is about Protecting our Freedoms, which happens to coincidently benefit corporate campaign contributors and protect home-district bases, factories and shipyards.”

Ok, so a study has been made, concluding that defense spending isn’t as effective in generating jobs than a certain number of civilian ways — and most everybody on this forum is up in arms about it, hates the conclusions, is condemning the authors of the report and calling them names. Depressingly predictable.

Had another report come out with he opposite conclusion, it’s a fair guess most everybody here would have praised it.

The two reports on whether defense spending creates more or fewer jobs would have one thing in common, though: Few, if anyone here, have actually read them. Just like an awful lot people were calling for the death of Salman Rushdie, for him writing The Satanic Verses, they most likely never cared to read it (I did; it’s a difficult book to read, but very good), which I find plain stupid.

Admittably I haven’t read the report in question, and admittably my views are leaning towards less defense spending and more towards civilian ventures. But presented with sober arguments instead of anger and vitriolic nonsense (libtards, DemocRATS etc.), I am always prepared to consider the validity of opinions running against what I have thought beforehand, and — on occasion — even change my position.

Yes be we also had a lot more simple things to work with. Building a Burke or Tico or 688 to offset the Warsaw-Pact just meant building as many warships and airframes as we could.

Now its all about Stealth, and Integrated Battle-Space, so where we had lower overall cost of construction we now see a single fighter cost more than a FFG from the 80s.

The B-2/F-117 made it ok to spend billions for a defense program.

We won’t face a Warsaw-Pact scale enemy again; we will face a China or ‘istan that we will need raw numbers to compete against versus just high tech. Quantity has a quality of its own.


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