Trade Group Warning About Defense Cut Job Loss Opposed Measure To Boost Defense Jobs In 2003

The Aerospace Industries Association Executive Committee

One of the remaining arguments the Pentagon threw out trying to prevent further military spending cuts was that DOD spending creates jobs. A Defense Department spokesman warned that cutting military spending by $1 trillion over the next decade would “result in job cuts that would add potentially 1 (percentage point) to the national unemployment rate.” One important point this claim omits is that diverting federal dollars to defense and other military spending at the expense of other domestic priorities actually results in a net job-loss.

The Aerospace Industries Association recently released a study hawking a similar tone, claiming that $1 trillion in cuts could lead to over 1 million job losses. While this study also ignores the fact that spending federal money elsewhere would create more jobs, CAP’s Larry Korb noted in a Politico op-ed today that “the number of jobs that could be lost is about 600,000 — not 1 million.” But Korb also adds that back in 2003, the AIA wasn’t all that interested in creating jobs here in the United States:

But to really understand how little the defense industry cares about its workers, we need to go back to 2003. In the fiscal year 2004 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress inserted a provision that would have increased the percentage of components that had to be made in America for Defense Department purchases to 65 percent of the product, rather than the current 50 percent.

This proposal, supported by many small manufacturing companies and unions because it would create jobs in the U.S., was vehemently opposed by AIA. Why? Because it would cut its members’ profits and make it harder to sell their wares around the world (The U.S. is the global leader in arms sales).

As a result of AIA’s efforts, the “buy American” provision, which would have increased employment in the U.S., was dropped.

“It is clear that the AIA study’s real purpose was to protect not U.S. workers but the group’s profits,” Korb adds. Indeed, AIA spent $213,684 lobbying Congress from July through September last year. This year however, the defense industry trade group spent $886,814 during the same period, a 76 percent increase.

Military, defense and security spending isn’t a jobs program, it’s meant to be focused toward protecting the United States and its allies, not lining the pockets of big American corporations.