November 06, 2006

Even More Wartime Socialism

Earlier this year, the economists at EPI noticed a grim bit of irony: Roughly 1.5 million of the jobs created in the United States since 2001 have owed their existence to increased defense spending. The Pentagon, it seems, is carrying the economy on its back. Just don't call it socialism.

Anyway, Jamie Galbraith and J. Travis Hale have followed up by looking at regional inequality—which regions have done well, which not so well—in the Bush era. The countries that have made out like bandits, not surprisingly, are all places that have benefited from the surge of defense contracts since 2001. "[G]overnment spending (especially for the military) provides the main thread linking the economic winners of the Bush administration."

Not that this is anything new—the postwar U.S. economy has always been propped up, to a stunningly large extent, by defense largesse—although it does suggest that even a Democratically-controlled Congress will be very, very, very unlikely to reduce the current, insanely high levels of military spending. (Obviously one should still vote Democratic in the midterms tomorrow—there are a near-infinite number of reasons why—but this is just one thing that won't change no matter who our rulers are.)
-- Brad Plumer 9:54 PM || ||