Saturday, October 20, 2012
Defense money could be put to better uses
The Oct. 12 article on military spending ("Defense cuts could cost Minnesota 4,000+ jobs") failed to raise critical, related questions. For instance, how do for-profit corporations within the "military industrial complex" use campaign contributions and lobbyists to influence Pentagon spending levels and even the decision to wage war? Could we use federal taxes more effectively to create jobs in non-military sectors? If so, why don't we?
Federal taxes create jobs, but the return on investment differs across job sectors. For instance, a study by University of Massachusetts Amherst found that job losses in that state would be 15 to 20 percent greater if non-military programs were cut instead. In Massachusetts, federal tax dollars create more jobs in education, health care, construction and clean energy than in military spending. Every state should conduct such a study to better understand the impact of proposed federal budget cuts.
Recently, the St. Paul City Council joined 21 U.S. cities, 39 members of the Minnesota Legislature and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in support of shifting federal funding priorities from military operations toward the essential needs of communities. The St. Paul resolution was brought forward by the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP), a group led by Prof. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.
Ultimately, MN ASAP will pursue support at the state and federal levels.
NATHAN J. NESS, ST. PAUL