Romney’s Job Creation Plan That No One Is Talking About

by on October 27, 2012 · 6 comments

in Government, Politics

Mitt Romney has a jobs creation plan if he becomes President, alright. But no one, including Mitt Romney himself, is talking about it.

Remember the $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military? That $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military which the Pentagon doesn’t even want (but Defense contractors certainly do) translates into a huge jobs program.

What Romney is really advocating here is more government spending, but government spending of the right wing socialism (otherwise known as fascism) sort: a military buildup, exactly the kind of military buildup that got Hitler’s Germany and Roosevelt’s America out of the Great Depression.

While Obama is advocating left wing government spending – spending on infrastructure, research and development, clean energy, education and social programs to help the poor – Romney’s jobs program represents government spending on the military reinforcing the US as a national security state. Military spending represents a huge jobs program for individuals and defense contractors that work in the military-industrial complex and are hugely invested in war and the build-up towards war. And Romney is counting on all these people to vote for him.

If you figure that government can create a job by spending $100,000. into the private sector including wages, overhead, management and profit, $2 trillion over 10 years  represents 2 million jobs. Do the math! $2 trillion over 10 years is $.2 trillion per year. .2 trillion divided by 100,000. is 2 million. These jobs will also have multiplier effects as the defense contractor employees spend their paychecks into the local communities for houses, cars, TV sets and everything else that consumers spend their money on.

In other words defense related jobs will become – even more than they are now – the engine of the economy. And the US will be invested even more than it is now in the fact that defense work is the basis of its economy, thus making the US in to a national security state. When Romney says he will create 12 million jobs and “I  know how to do it.”, spending $2 trillion on the military-industrial complex and the multiplier effect from that spending is where those 12 million jobs will come from.

Of course, the same amount of money having the same multiplier effects could be invested in rebuilding America. It could be invested in roads and bridges, a smart electrical grid, renewable energy that will not change the chemical composition of the atmosphere, undergrounding utilities on a national level so that they don’t have to be re-erected after each hurricane and tornado and high speed rail equivalent to the rest of the world’s advanced economies.

But these potential industries don’t have armies of lobbyists in Washington, DC whose job it is to convince Congressmen to vote for ever more funding for the military-industrial complex. And the Lockheed Martins and Northrop Grummans of the world along with Republican politicians will also do their best to convince the American people that we need even more in the way of Defense spending than we have now. That’s why they run so many TV ads.

The Defense Department’s $680 billion budget pays for over 3.1 million employees, both military and civilian. Another 3 million people are employed by the defense industry both directly and indirectly, such as working in local businesses where the military-industrial complex employees spend their take home pay. The Department of Defense is the single largest employer in the United States. More than the post office and Wal-Mart combined! There are multiple millions of contractors whose jobs are directly related to defense.

The military/defense industry is San Diego’s second largest economic sector, bringing more than $13 billion into the local economy annually. The Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island, Naval Station San Diego, and Naval Submarine Base are among San Diego’s military installations. In the 1970s I worked for the Naval Electronics Laboratory (NEL) for six years.

It has since undergone several name changes to protect the guilty – Naval Electronics Laboratory Center (NELC), Naval Ocean Systems Command (NOSC), Naval Research and Development (NRAD), and now it has been absorbed into SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command). The point is though that before every election a wave of fear goes through the entire plant because, if a Democrat were to be elected, there would be a reduction in military spending and people would lose their jobs in a RIF (Reduction in Force). There was considerable pressure to vote Republican to prevent that from happening so people could continue to feed their families.

Lockheed Martin employs 123,000 people worldwide. In 2009 US Government contracts accounted for $38.4 billion (85%) of its budget. In 2011 I wrote this on Will Blog For Food:

“This is from “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex,” by William D Hartung:

It is a striking ad. An intimidating combat aircraft soars in the background, with the slogan up front in all capital letters: 300 MILLION PROTECTED, 95,000 EMPLOYED. The ad—for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor fighter plane—was part of the company’s last-gap effort to save one of its most profitable weapons from being “terminated,” as they say in standard budget parlance. The pro—F-22 ad ran scores of times, in print, on political websites, and even in Washington’s Metro. One writer at the Washington Post joked that at a time when many companies had been cutting back on their advertising budgets, Lockheed Martin’s barrage of full-page ads in February and March 2009 was the main thing keeping the paper afloat.

When an arms company starts bragging about how many jobs its pet project creates, hold on to your wallet. It often means that the company wants billions of dollars’ worth of your tax money for a weapon that costs too much, does too little, and may not have been needed in the first place. So it is with the Raptor, which at $350 million per plane is the most expensive combat aircraft ever built. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has suggested that the F-22 needs to be cut because even with wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has never been used in combat. In fact, in its first “mission”—flying to Japan for deployment at a US air base there—the plane had technical difficulties and had to land in Hawaii, far short of its final destination.

Other top players besides Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are General Dynamics, Boeing and Raytheon. Located on San Diego Bay, and part of General Dynamics Marine Systems, NASSCO has been building ships for commercial customers and the U.S. Navy since 1960. NASSCO is the last vestige of General Dynamics’ prescence in San Diego. At one time it was San Diego‘s largest employer. Now it is a bit player.

I also worked for General Dynamics Convair for three years in the 1970s. During the time I was employed there, I wrote a muckraking article for the original paper version of the San Diego Free Press. What I remember from the article was that somebody at General Dynamics came up with the brilliant idea that, in order to get out of paying local property taxes, it could sell its plants to the Federal Government and then lease them back. The Federal Government does not have to pay local property taxes, and voila, General Dynamics’ profits would go up albeit at the expense of local schoolchildren.

In 1994 most of the company’s divisions were sold to McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed, with the remaining components deactivated in 1996.So the plane is a piece of shit, but it creates jobs, jobs, jobs. And jobs are what the country needs, right? And more profits for Lockheed Martin and higher salaries for Lockheed Martin’s CEO. Not to mention the lobbying industry. Those poor suckers need jobs too—desperately.”

Given that the Defense Department creates jobs, what most people don’t know is that other industries are simply better at it. For instance, $1 billion spent on clean energy, health care or education would do far more for job creation than $1 billion spent by the Pentagon, a group of researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst concluded.

Every billion dollars the Defense Department gets generates 11,600 jobs, their study contends, whereas that same investment would produce 17,100 in clean energy jobs, 19,600 in health care jobs and 29,100 in education jobs. Why isn’t Obama touting the fact that less government spending than Romney proposes, when spent on rebuilding America, would produce even more jobs than Romney’s proposed spending on the military?

If Obama is reelected, he should take the $2 trillion Romney wants to give the military-industrial complex and spend it on infrastructure, clean energy, a national smart grid, high speed rail, education, research and development and other peaceful pursuits in order to rebuild and strengthen America. To continue and double down on right wing government spending on the military only reinforces America’s role as a national security state, one in which the only jobs created are related to war.

The only problem is that Obama could never get a program of this sort passed by a Republican controlled House and/or Senate. That is why, unfortunately, the US will never do the things it needs to do in order to remain a great nation.

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John Lawrence

John Lawrence graduated from Georgia Tech, Stanford and University of California at San Diego. While at UCSD, he was one of the original writer/workers on the San Diego Free Press in the late 1960s. He founded the San Diego Jazz Society in 1984 which had grants from the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and presented both local and nationally known jazz artists. His website is Social Choice and Beyond which exemplifies his interest in Economic Democracy. His book is East West Synthesis. He also blogs at Will Blog For Food. He can be reached at j.c.lawrence@cox.net.
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar chas holman October 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

No one is talking about it.. not even Governor Romney..

It’s because it wont work and has no merit, or else he would be trupeting it instead of trying to nitpick about what the President had for breakfast.

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avatar John Lawrence October 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

It will work to create jobs. There’s no question about that. The military-industrial complex has the exact opposite motivation about jobs than does the private sector. In the private sector corporations want to minimize the amount of money they spend on workers. That’s why they outsource to places where they only have to pay workers less than a dollar an hour. The military-industrial complex wants to maximize the number of workers because of the way they get paid which is cost-plus contracts. Their profits are figured as a percentage (usually 10%) of their costs. So they want to maximize costs in order to maximize profits. The main way they run up their costs is by hiring more workers. The more workers, the more costs and the more profits. Even if (as is often the case) these workers are not needed and sit around doing “make work”, profits for defense contractors increase.

In the Soviet Union they used to say, “People pretend to work and the government pretends to pay them.” In the US people pretend to work and the government actually pays them and pays the corporations they work for goodly profits as well.

So the motivation for defense contractors is to run up costs by hiring more workers while the motivation for private sector corporations is to reduce costs by eliminating American jobs and hiring low cost workers abroad.

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avatar John Lawrence October 29, 2012 at 9:43 am

One more thing: the reason Romney isn’t talking about it as a jobs creation plan is because he is pitching it (like Republicans always do) as a dire need to protect America from a dangerous world and keep America strong, not just a boondoggle to keep the economy going. Knowledgable defense workers, however, know this is just code for “more good paying American jobs.”

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avatar Anna Daniels October 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm

It is an eye-opener when we get to see how local property tax revenue streams are starved by the scheme you noted above: “somebody at General Dynamics came up with the brilliant idea that, in order to get out of paying local property taxes, it could sell its plants to the Federal Government and then lease them back. The Federal Government does not have to pay local property taxes, and voila, General Dynamics’ profits would go up albeit at the expense of local schoolchildren.”
Hospitals with “non-profit” status are doing the same thing. Just one more way to rig the system.
An excellent article John.

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avatar John Lawrence October 29, 2012 at 9:39 am

Thanks, Anna. It really made the bottom fall out of the local tax base. It’s not something too many San Diegans know about. Later there would be a scandal regarding General Dynamics CEO when it was discovered that he had an air conditioned dog house among other perks. They never accused him of giving his dog an air conditioned ride atop his car, however.

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