George Will Comes Out for Stimulus, At Least When It Is Military Spending

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Sunday, 18 September 2011 09:59

George Will has been a harsh critic of President Obama's stimulus package, claiming that it did little to boost the economy and create jobs. He would rather see him reduce the deficit. However in today's column he firmly expresses the view that government spending does create jobs, at least when it is tied to the military.

In this piece he warns readers that:

"The 1.5 million active-duty members of the armed services and 700,000 civilian employees of the Defense Department depend on an industrial base of more than 3.8 million persons. According to the Pentagon, a sequester would substantially shrink those three numbers, perhaps adding a point to the nation’s unemployment rate."

So here we have Will clearly asserting that cuts in government spending will add to the unemployment rate. It is hard to reconcile this view with his past criticisms of the stimulus and calls for deficit reduction.

He must hold some magical view that if we spend money on something related to the military that it creates jobs, but otherwise it has no effect on employment. Perhaps if President Obama had labeled all the items in his stimulus package "defense" (e.g. "the defense green jobs program" or the "defense emergency assistance to state governments") Will would have supported it.