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The Only Job a War Industry CEO Cares About: His Own

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In their attempt to protect pay packages that would shame a Goldman Sachs executive, the CEOs of the biggest military contractors are again releasing bogus "analysis" on job creation related to massive military budgets. Don't be fooled: the spin coming out of the Second To None lobbying front is about one job, and one job only: the job of the guy at the top of the war corporation, along with its massive salary.

Let's dispense with the war profiteers' so-called economic analysis (.pdf). The study released today at a war-contractor-convened press conference tries to obscure the massive jobs cost of military spending by citing all the jobs that are tied to the current Pentagon budget. This "analysis," though, is completely context-free, rendering it useless in determining the best course of action for the deficit committee and in making predictions about the economy in general.

The study ignores the jobs cost we're already suffering from big military budgets, both in terms of:

  • simple analysis of how many more jobs would be created through virtually any other kind of spending (even plain old consumer spending) compared to military spending in the short term, and
  • the huge jobs cost caused by the "brain drain" imposed by huge military R&D budgets, which pull engineers and scientists out of more productive civilian fields, leading to a loss of competitiveness in U.S. manufacturing. This brain drain far outweighs any spillover benefits caused by military technology finding its way into the civilian sector. This brain drain, according to Lloyd Dumas, has cost us literally millions of jobs.
  • Fuller's analysis simply ignores the way the debt deal imposes a zero-sum game on the deficit committee. If they protect military spending at the expense of other big-ticket items like Social Security, then the cuts that are made will have a significantly worse impact on the economy than any scenario Fuller can spin out based on cuts to the military budget. The kinds of spending that are created by Social Security, Medicare, and virtually any other kind of government spending create far more jobs than military spending, so protecting military spending at the expense of other parts of the budget is the worst of all possible worlds.

    In short, the CEOs of the biggest military contracting corporations published a report today that has absolutely no use in predicting the actual economic effects of cuts to the military budget

    All that aside, what the contractors are up to with this kind of propaganda campaign is an attempt to protect the massive paychecks of their CEOs. Just compare the annual compensation of Lockheed Martin's CEO to that of Goldman Sachs' CEO and you'll see what I mean. These war profiteers are enjoying a life that even Bank of America's CEO could only dream of, and they are afraid that they may have to drink slightly cheaper champagne if actual military budget cuts arrive and we have to go back to spending only the then-record-busting amounts we spent on the military in 2007.

     

    Here's all you need to know about the choice before the deficit committee:

    • Massive military budgets cost jobs.
    • Massive military R&D budgets pull scientists and engineers out of more productive civilian pursuits and creates a "brain drain" that far outweighs any spillover benefits from military research; and
    • Military contractor CEOs have been living like American royalty for a decade, they don't want it end, and they'll say anything to keep the gravy train rolling.

    That tells you just about everything you need to know about the spin coming from the Aerospace Industries Association and their Second To None lobbying front. Caveat emptor.

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