Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The wrong type of economic stimulus

Recently Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest military contractors in the United States, has come up with a new argument for extending their defense contracts: it would be good for America's economic security, nonwithstanding the fact that, out of the top fifty defense contractors, the company has the most instances of misconduct since 1995 (forty eight).

Go figure... Lockheed Martin wants to take advantage of the bad economy to build more war machines. Though building more weapons would secure jobs, it would also mean spending money - a lot of money - that could be better spent on other projects, ones that could benefit the United States better than adding to our already sizable arsenal. We need Lockheed to maintain what we've already got, instead of creating more weapons we don't need.

Unfortunately, as Congressional Quarterly notes, it looks like Lockheed's tactics are working. (It doesn't hurt that Lockheed has a sizable lobbying operation).
...there are early signs that the jobs argument may be working with President-elect Barack Obama's new team and with Congress.

“The Obama administration understands that any major cuts to weapons spending would be a negative for the economy,” said Loren Thompson, a national-security analyst with the Lexington Institute who has consulted for defense contractors.
Ah, Mr. Thompson, I disagree. Ending the programs used to produce unnecessary equipment, and shifting money to other projects and technologies could create both jobs and products that could truly benefit the American people, instead of providing a false sense of security. That's what Obama should do.

After all, it doesn't matter how many F-22 Raptors the U.S. has, they aren't going to prevent a person from detonating a bomb somewhere like a stadium, dam, or skyscraper. And we already have a powerful arsenal of weaponry. Look at our navy, it's the biggest and baddest around. We have like a dozen aircraft carriers in service. No other military power has even half of that number.

Building even more tanks, missiles, and planes won't solve pressing political or domestic problems, but investing the money into civil projects and the sciences, to advance American well-being in a way that is not harmful to other nations and human beings, would be a worthy investment.


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