Military Contractors Steal from Us

According to a NYT op-ed by Peter Navarro, an assistant to the president and the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, published March 19th, 2019, argues that hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on the American military is justified for two reasons:

  • It assuages adversaries from threatening American interests , and
  • 2) Defense spending helps keep some manufacturing jobs alive.

As to the first point, America spent $610 billion dollars on defense in 2017, the largest amount of any nation. How much did the second-most on the list spend? $228 billion in China. What does that reason? It shows that America has no adversary abroad who could contend with our hegemony. It is beyond any argument that we need to spend this much when we already have a military so advanced. Some have even argued that since America has such an advanced nuclear arsenal it serves enough as a deterrent against others’ aggression, alone. Who needs tanks in a nuclear conflict?

As to point number two, the bloated defense budget is keeping some jobs here in the United States alive. But what we must focus on is the profits being made by companies making military equipment and providing defense services. It is well known that no-bid contracts are awarded more than often to companies by the government by the Dept. of Defense. But also, the heads of these companies are often former government officials who make the decisions about how that $610 billion dollars is spent. For example, V.P. Cheney first worked in the Department of Defense under Pres. Reagan then, once the regime had changed, Cheney went to sit on the board at Halliburton. When Cheney was picked by George W. Bush to be his V.P., and they conducted the invasion of Iraq, Halliburton received many no-bid contracts from the government for various services. Positions of government officials in the defense dept. have a revolving door between their time as so-called “servants of the people” and a private company’s board of directors.

The horrible crime is that even a small amount of $610 billion would be better spent elsewhere. We could rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, solve the housing crisis, fight the opioid epidemic, or even relocate and retrain the former manufacturing employees once their plants closedown. Just a thought…

An Updated History of Recent Presidents and Unemployment

It should be noted that the one decrease for a Republican, Reagan, is also the president with the highest sustained double-digit unemployment of any of these.

 

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Job Reports May Often Be Misjudged

02-jobs-image-master675-v4A great article in the NYT’s “Upshot” section with cool graphs reports that the monthly job numbers, and other economic indicators from the government and elsewhere, may be misleading due to “statistical noise”, i.e., uncontrolled for margins of error, bad sampling, etc.

An important read when you think of how these indicators affect Wall Street, your employer’s decisions at work, or when to buy a house.

Read Here.

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What the Fiscal Cliff Means for Jobs, in 1 Chart – Matthew O’Brien – The Atlantic

What the Fiscal Cliff Means for Jobs, in 1 Chart – Matthew O’Brien – The Atlantic.

One of the better articles and the best chart from the Congressional Budget Office I’ve seen concerning the fiscal cliff and the effect it will have on jobs.  The most important factor to note here is the difference in jobs with the two different Bush tax cuts options.  We’ve been led to believe by the GOP that the tax cuts for the alleged “job creators” (a.k.a. the wealthy but not technically job creators in the U.S.) are critical and our economy cannot move on without them.  But, as the author of this article puts it, “Washington is haggling over the least stimulative part of the fiscal cliff — the Bush tax cuts for the rich” (emphasis added).  Obviously, Republicans are showing they are not serious about deficit reduction as they continue to block this maneuver. The question now becomes: will the GOP cause another recession just to get their way on the most insignificant part of the fiscal cliff debate?

Outsourcing: Good or Evil?

Here’s a great article by Steven Pearlstein analyzing the phenomenon of outsourcing of American jobs and how it benefits both consumers and investors even though it destroy lives.