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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Education investment returns far more than military

Why then is the U.S. at perpetual war?
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

“The military is the nation’s largest and most firmly entrenched entitlement program.” When factoring in veterans’ benefits and other past military costs, “the military devours half the U.S. budget,” says Ellen Brown, author and president of the Public Banking Institute, this week in a Global Research article.

Why is this so? “Wasteful and unnecessary military programs get a pass from legislators,” she says,  “because the military is also our largest and most secure jobs program, one that has penetrated into the nooks and crannies of Every Town U.S.A..…

“Every year since World War II, the U.S. has been at war somewhere. [Some have said] that if we didn’t have a war to fight, we would have to create one just to keep the war business going. We have a military empire of over 800 bases around the world.…”

However, “The military actually destroys jobs in the civilian economy,” Brown reports. “The higher profits from cost-plus military manufacturing cause manufacturers to abandon more competitive civilian endeavors; and the permanent war economy takes engineers, capital and resources away from civilian production. “


“Government investment in education creates twice as many jobs as investment in the military.” Brown poses alternatives that have worked as far back as the civil service years of the 1800s, and closer, in the immediate post-World War II era when conversion to civilian activity did not raise  unemployment figures above 3 percent (today estimated as high as 16 percent).

“Spending on personal consumption, health care, education, mass transit, and construction for home weatherization and infrastructure repair, all were found,” in a 2007 study by Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier (University of Massachusetts), she reports, “to create more jobs per $1 billon in expenditures than military spending does.”

Conversion from military to civilian works all round. “Military conversion is a well thought-out program that could provide real economic stimulus and national security for people here and abroad,” she writes.

“Existing military bases, laboratories, and production facilities can be converted to civilian uses. Bases can become industrial parks, schools, airports, hospitals, recreation facilities, and so forth.

“Converted factories can produce consumer and capital goods: machine tools, electric locomotives, farm machinery, oil field equipment, construction machinery for modernizing infrastructure. …”

The United States can better spend that “half of the federal budget” it now spends on military pursuits. “There are more efficient ways to stimulate the economy.”

Brown begins her article with the sage thought of a military general, the 34th U.S. president, Dwight David Eisenhower — 
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. . . . 
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed [thousands].”

Sources and notes

“The Military as a Jobs Program: There are More Efficient Ways to Stimulate the Economy (Ellen Brown at Global Research), June 22, 2011, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25361
Prepared for ‘The Military Industrial Complex at 50,’ a conference in Charlottesville, VA, September 16-18, 2011

A frequent contributor to Global Research, Ellen Brown is an attorney, author, and president of the Public Banking Institute (http://PublicBankingInstitute.org). Her latest of eleven books is Web of Debt; her websites: http://webofdebt.com; http://ellenbrown.com

“‘The Chance for Peace’” speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953 — Dwight David Eisenhower


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