Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Inflation Consequences for the Stock Market, FED Balance Sheet - 24th Oct 21
To Be or Not to Be: How the Evergrande Crisis Can Affect Gold Price - 24th Oct 21
During a Market Mania, "no prudent professional is perceived to add value" - 24th Oct 21
Stock Market S&P500 Rallies Above $4400 – May Attempt To Advance To $4750~$4800 - 24th Oct 21
Inflation and the Crazy Crypto Markets - 23rd Oct 21
Easy PC Upgrades with Motherboard Combos - Overclockers UK Unboxing - MB, Memory and Ryzen 5600x CPU - 23rd Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks Q3 2021 - 23rd Oct 21
Gold calmly continues cobbling its Handle, Miners lay in wait - 23rd Oct 21
US Economy Has Been in an Economic Depression Since 2008 - 22nd Oct 21
Extreme Ratios Point to Gold and Silver Price Readjustments - 22nd Oct 21
Bitcoin $100K or Ethereum $10K—which happens first? - 22nd Oct 21
This Isn’t Sci-Fi: How AI Is About To Disrupt This $11 Trillion Industry - 22nd Oct 21
Ravencoin RVN About to EXPLODE to NEW HIGHS! Last Chance to Buy Before it goes to the MOON! - 21st Oct 21
Stock Market Animal Spirits Returning - 21st Oct 21
Inflation Advances, and So Does Gold — Except That It Doesn’t - 21st Oct 21
Why A.I. Is About To Trigger The Next Great Medical Breakthrough - 21st Oct 21
Gold Price Slowly Going Nowhere - 20th Oct 21
Shocking Numbers Show Government Crowding Out Real Economy - 20th Oct 21
Crude Oil Is in the Fast Lane, But Where Is It Going? - 20th Oct 21
3 Tech Stocks That Could Change The World - 20th Oct 21
Best AI Tech Stocks ETF and Investment Trusts - 19th Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks: Will Investors Dump the Laggards? - 19th Oct 21
The Most Exciting Medical Breakthrough Of The Decade? - 19th Oct 21
Prices Rising as New Dangers Point to Hard Assets - 19th Oct 21
It’s not just Copper; GYX indicated cyclical the whole time - 19th Oct 21
Chinese Tech Stocks CCP Paranoia, VIES - Variable Interest Entities - 19th Oct 21
Inflation Peaked Again, Right? - 19th Oct 21
Gold Stocks Bouncing Hard - 19th Oct 21
Stock Market New Intermediate Bottom Forming? - 19th Oct 21
Beware, Gold Bulls — That’s the Beginning of the End - 18th Oct 21
Gold Price Flag Suggests A Big Rally May Start Soon - 18th Oct 21
Inflation Or Deflation – End Result Is Still Depression - 18th Oct 21
A.I. Breakthrough Could Disrupt the $11 Trillion Medical Sector - 18th Oct 21
US Economy and Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 17th Oct 21
The Gold Price And Inflation - 17th Oct 21
Went Long the Crude Oil? Beware of the Headwinds Ahead… - 17th Oct 21
Watch These Next-gen Cloud Computing Stocks - 17th Oct 21
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

More Efficient Ways to Stimulate Economy than Using the Military as a Jobs Program

Politics / Employment Jun 22, 2011 - 03:07 PM GMT

By: Ellen_Brown

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis Article"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. . . . We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people." –Dwight David Eisenhower, "The Chance for Peace," speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Apr. 16, 1953


In a Wall Street Journal editorial on June 8 bemoaning the failure of the Obama stimulus package, Martin Feldstein wrote :

"Experience shows that the most cost-effective form of temporary fiscal stimulus is direct government spending. The most obvious way to achieve that in 2009 was to repair and replace the military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan that would otherwise have to be done in the future. But the Obama stimulus had nothing for the Defense Department."

You can't make this stuff up. The most obvious way to stimulate the economy is to replace military equipment? And the Obama stimulus had nothing for the Defense Department? When veterans' benefits and other past military costs are factored in, the military now devours half the U.S. budget . If military spending is such a cost-effective stimulus, why have the trillions poured into it in the last decade left the economy reeling?

The military is the nation's largest and most firmly entrenched entitlement program, one that takes half of every tax dollar. Even if "national security" is considered our number one priority (a dubious choice when the real unemployment rate is over 16%), estimates are that the military budget could be cut in half or more and we would still have the most powerful military machine in the world. Our enemies (if any) are now "terrorists," not countries; and what is needed to contain them (if anything) is local policing, not global warfare. Much of our military hardware is just good for "shock and awe," not needed for any "real and present danger."

Military spending is the very essence of "built-in obsolescence": it turns out products that are designed to blow up. The military is not subject to ordinary market principles but works on a "cost-plus" basis, with producers reimbursed for whatever they have spent plus a guaranteed profit. Gone are the usual competitive restraints that keep capitalist corporations "lean and mean." Private contractors hired by the government on no-bid contracts can be as wasteful and inefficient as they like and still make a tidy profit. Yet legislators looking to slash wasteful "entitlements" persist in overlooking this obvious elephant in the room.

The reason massive military spending is considered the most "obvious" way to produce a fiscal stimulus is simply that it is the only form of direct government spending that gets a pass from the deficit hawks. The economy is desperate to get money flowing through it, and today only the government is in a position to turn on the spigots; but there is a tourniquet on government spending. That is true for everything but the military, the only program on which the government is allowed to spend seemingly without limit, often even without oversight.

Chalmers Johnson estimated in 2004 that as much as 40% of the Pentagon budget is "black," meaning hidden from public scrutiny. The black budget is so top secret that Congress itself is not allowed to peer in and haggle over the price. Democratic control of the military has broken down. The military is being used for purposes that even Congress is not allowed to know, much less vote on. The U.S. is no longer a constitutional republic but is a national security state. Foreign policy is determined behind closed doors by powerful private interests that use our military presence abroad to secure their access to cheap labor, markets and resources. At least, we assume that is what is going on. A declared objective of U.S. military policy is "full spectrum dominance." That could well mean dominance over the American people along with everyone else.

Why is the military's half of the pie sacrosanct? Wasteful and unnecessary military programs get a pass from legislators because the military is also our largest and most secure jobs program, one that has penetrated into the nooks and crannies of Every Town U.S.A. If it were disbanded, the economy would be crippled by soaring unemployment, plant closures, and bankruptcies. Bruce Gagnon , coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power, writes:

"Most politicians understand . . . that weapons production is currently the number one industrial export product of the U.S. They know that major industrial job creation is largely coming from the Pentagon. Thus most politicians, from both parties, want to continue to support the military industrial complex gravy train for their communities."

That explains why the country seems to be permanently at war. If we had peace, the war machine would be out of a job. Every year since World War II, the U.S. has been at war somewhere . It has been said that if we didn't have a war to fight, we would have to create one just to keep the war business going. We have a military empire of over 800 bases around the world. What is to become of them when the lion lies down with the lamb and peace reigns everywhere?

Military Conversion

Fortunately, there is a way to solve these problems without maintaining a perpetual state of war: keep the jobs but convert them to civilian use. Military conversion is a well thought-out program that could provide real economic stimulus and national security for people here and abroad. Existing military bases, laboratories, and production facilities can be converted to civilian uses. Bases can become industrial parks, schools, airports, hospitals, recreation facilities, and so forth. Converted factories can produce consumer and capital goods: machine tools, electric locomotives, farm machinery, oil field equipment, construction machinery for modernizing infrastructure.

It has been done before. According to Lloyd Dumas in The Socio-economic Conversion from War to Peace (1995):

"At the end of World War II, . . . a large fraction of the nation's output had to be moved from military to civilian production. . . . Some 30 percent of U.S. output was transferred in one year without the unemployment rate ever rising above 3 percent. This experience made it clear that it is possible to redirect enormous amounts of productive resources from military to civilian activity without intolerable economic disruption."

In the early 19th century, when we had no major wars to fight, the U.S. military was turned into a civil service that built infrastructure for the nation.

A successful modern example is the  United States Army Corps of Engineers  (USACE), the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency. Its mission is to provide vital public engineering services to strengthen the nation's security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters. Generally associated with dams, canals and flood protection in the United States, USACE is involved in a wide range of public works both here and abroad. The Corps of Engineers provides 24% of U.S. hydropower capacity and is engaged in environmental regulation and ecosystem restoration, among other useful projects.

The late Seymour Melman, a professor at Columbia University, wrote extensively for fifty years on "economic conversion", the ordered transition from military to civilian production by military industries and facilities. He showed that a carefully designed conversion program could create more jobs than the war machine sustains now. The military actually destroys jobs in the civilian economy. The higher profits from cost-plus military manufacturing cause manufacturers to abandon more competitive civilian endeavors; and the permanent war economy takes engineers, capital and resources away from civilian production.

Bruce Gagnon writes :

"Across the nation colleges and universities are turning to the Pentagon for greater research funding as Congress and successive administrations have cut back on scientific research and development investment. As this trend worsens we find growing evidence that engineering, computer science, astronomy, mathematics, and other departments are becoming "militarized" in order to maintain funding levels." 

This research and production is not easily transferable to civilian use, since it has been designed for tasks that are radically different from civilian needs. And because we have put so many resources into military production, we have fallen behind industrially.

A 2007 study by Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the University of Massachusetts found that government investment in education creates twice as many jobs as investment in the military. Spending on personal consumption, health care, education, mass transit, and construction for home weatherization and infrastructure repair all were found to create more jobs per $1 billon in expenditures than military spending does.

Clearly, the half of the budget now going to military pursuits could be better spent. If we are going to double exports in the next five years, as President Obama has pledged, we will need to divert some of the resources poured down the black hole of war to productive civilian industry.


Prepared for "The Military Industrial Complex at 50", a conference in Charlottesville, VA, September 16-18, 2011.

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from “the money trust.” Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.com and www.ellenbrown.com.

Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown

© Copyright Ellen Brown , Global Research, 2011

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Ernie Messerschmidt
24 Jun 11, 00:15
We must de-militarize

In her book Web of Debt Ellen Brown showed us what a rip-off our financial system is and how to fix it. Now she does the same thing for the military. She asks, "If military spending is such a cost-effec­tive stimulus, why have the trillions poured into it in the last decade left the economy reeling?" Does anyone have a good answer to that? Is there so little left of our industrial economy that even that huge amount of "stimulus" leaves us with 16% - plus unemployme­nt? Of course she's right: military spending is not only a poor way to stimulate the economy, but actually hurts us tremendous­ly. As Seymour Melman said, "First, we need to understand how the Cold War (update: War on Terror) and massive military spending have undermined our civilian economy. Second, we must recognize how Economic Conversion can revitalize our productive capacity. Only then will we get behind the drive for economic conversion that can give us disarmamen­t, good jobs, and a higher standard of living." We spend six times as much on the military as China; China produces all the big screen tvs, and leads the world in green energy. Which country is headed down the toilet and which has a bright future according to almost all statistics­? (And they do it with public banking by the way.) If we are to turn around and have a decent future, we must cut our biggest, most wasteful entitlemen­t program.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in