More on the Military Spending Fairy

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Written by Dean Baker   
Monday, 05 December 2011 07:59

My friends at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts did a new study examining the evidence on the military spending fairy. The issue at hand is the whine heard across the country that cuts in military spending will cost jobs.

In a severe downturn like the current one, cuts in any government spending will cost jobs, the question is how many. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment requirement tables, they find that on a per dollar basis spending on health care or energy conservation creates 50 percent more jobs than spending on the military. Spending on education creates more than twice as many jobs as spending on the military.

In other words, if the point of spending is to create jobs, then the military is the last place that we would want to put our dollars. But, many in Washington believe in the military spending fairy who blesses the dollars spent on the military with unmatched job creating power that has no basis in normal economic analysis.