Barney Frank

Defense cuts affect jobs, but other cuts are worse

IT IS SURPRISING to hear defenders of our high level of military spending oppose defense reduction because of its negative effect on employment. This argument comes from the same people who have said that government spending creates no jobs, and who made no such employment-based objection to policies that have led to the firing of firefighters, teachers, and police officers, and reductions in spending for infrastructure. But the fact that this weaponized Keynesianism is inconsistent does not mean that it is wrong. The question is not whether there is an employment impact from defense spending cuts, but how that impact compares to spending reductions in other areas.

The answer, from both a national and Massachusetts perspective, is that cutting military spending in the appropriate way will have far less of a negative impact on jobs than the cuts that are likely to occur if the defense budget is not cut.

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