Can you delve more into the economics of the military itself?

On the Left in the US we often criticize the size and expense of the military. Hawks often argue that significant portions of that money are necessary for our aid of poorer countries. The military also employs lots of people, many of whom have no opportunities in their own communities. I was wondering if you could explain how the money going to the military is spent, and how we as the American Left should critique and curb that spending while not costing the poorer Americans who rely on military service as a means of getting out of poor communities and paying for college.

Official response from submitted

Military spending is one thing, jobs and employment are another. They are only linked when debate accepts the notion that if we did not provide people with military jobs, they would have no jobs at all. And that is plainly false. The US government could hire every person unemployed by military cutbacks doing all sorts of socially useful things while continuing to earn their salaries: provide quality day care and elder care for US families (if "family values" really meant something), rebuild broken inner cities, rebuild broken infrastructure, bring first-rate education to all Americans, and so on. US in 2016 will spend over $620 billion on "defense." The is the greatest military spending in the world. We are #1. The next 9 "defense" spenders all together spend less than the US alone spends. The cost to Americans is staggering and claiming it provides jobs is a crude apology that is illogical to boot.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2016-12-16 16:15:35 -0500
  • Vince Kelley
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-12-16 11:25:27 -0500