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How a Mitt-Style Increase in Military Spending Might Cost You Your Job

The link between bloated military budgets and unemployment is clear and scary.

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Now it’s true that certain industries benefit from military bloat, like companies that create ammunition, for example, or uniforms. Those companies are able to hire workers who may not otherwise be able to find a job. To build up this idea, Mitt has been busy running ads in states like Virginia and North Carolina announcing that increased military spending is really a jobs program (the next time he says that government doesn't create jobs, remember that).

But unfortunately, this kind of economic stimulus is far less effective than other kinds of spending. Investments in things like renewable energy provide a much better long-term payoff. Investments in healthcare, infrastructure and education are also of greater benefit to the overall economy. Despite Romney's desperate protestations in the final debate that he loves teachers, his emphasis on military spending would surely mean more laid-off educators.

Right-wingers like to howl that decreases in military spending would harm the economy. But even the libertarian Cato Institute shows that this line is baloney. In his paper “Economic Effects of Reductions in Defense Outlays,” Benjamin Zycher acknowledges that a decrease might actually be economically beneficial: “Potential savings in real resources are sufficiently large to justify a detailed analysis of U.S. national security needs and the outlays required to defend them.”

When Romney talks about increasing military spending, just imagine that for every new ship, there’s a new line at the unemployment office. Apparently, that's his idea of a healthy economy.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.