The Seen and the Unseen: The Productive Vs. Destructive Economy
It’s a sad day when those on the left end of the political spectrum understand Frédéric Bastiat’s simple economic lesson of the seen and the unseen better than billionaire businessmen. But something tells me they know better. Fear-mongering estimates about the terrible job losses that would occur if cuts to defense budgets actually take place are ignoring – knowingly, I bet – the jobs that would be created if the taxes taken from the economy and given to defense firms were allowed to stay in the hands of the people for projects that don’t end in destruction, war, and murder. Entrepreneurial Americans are largely peaceful people; keeping the moolah in their hands will lead to productive economic activity – and thus, more jobs.
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.
- 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.