Reacting to media noise over the economic costs of the Waxman-Markey environmental bill currently before the U.S. Congress, Dean Baker (ZNet, 7/1/09) looks to the damages of a different annual spending bill, this one perpetually unexamined in corporate news:
Global Insight projected that after 20 years of higher defense spending, annual car sales would be down by more than 700,000. Housing starts would be almost 40,000 lower. Exports would be 1.8 percent lower and imports would be 2.7 percent higher, leading to a trade deficit that was almost $200 billion larger. The model also projected that there would be nearly 700,000 fewer jobs as a result of the higher level of defense spending.
In short, the economic harm projected from high levels of military spending is far larger than the damage projected from the Waxman-Markey bill. Given this situation, we should expect that all the oil and coal industry folks who are now so concerned about the average family's well-being would have been screaming about the economic pain that would result from sustaining the Iraq War levels of military spending.
Did anyone ever hear them raise this issue? Does anyone recall members of Congress giving speeches about how the job loss from the Iraq War levels of spending will be devastating? Does anyone recall any newspaper columns or editorials making this point? How about a news story that analyzed the economic impact of higher levels of military spending?
"For some reason," Baker says, "job loss and economic pain associated with the military are just not worth mentioning. These items only become newsworthy when the issue is saving the environment." Listen to the FAIR radio program CounterSpin: "Miriam Pemberton on Military Budget" (4/17/09).