Defense industry–backed Republicans are so desperate to stave off the automatic military spending cuts that they’re trying to scare Americans about job losses and an ensuing nose-diving economy should the military spending cuts hold.
Except there’s one problem. Republicans aren’t supposed to believe that government spending creates jobs. But in this last act of desperation, however, it seems that Republicans pushing to preserve America’s bloated military budget have come to a pretty significant epiphany. Next week, three right-wing think tanks will co-host Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Reps. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Randy Forbers (R-VA) to “discuss the dangers of deeper defense cuts.” All four lawmakers are warning about job loss because of sequestration, yet they’ve all previously argued that government spending doesn’t create jobs:
SEN. KELLY AYOTTE
Now: “So we’re not just talking about the jobs issue, which is, of course, of concern to anyone who serves in Congress. We’re talking about lost lives if we don’t give our men and women the equipment that they need.” [6/24/12]
Then: “It’s not the government that’s going to create jobs in this country, it’s our small businesses, it’s the private sector.” [9/22/10]
SEN. JON KYL
Now: “The whole point here [staving off the sequester] is to try to get some economic growth, job creation, to get out of this recession.” [5/24/12]
Then: “Faced with the reality of historic unemployment rates and record federal debt, I had hoped that President Obama, by now, would understand that even more government spending doesn’t create jobs.” [9/09/11]
REP. BUCK MCKEON
Now: “Sequestration’s impact on the economy would be sudden and severe, … result[ing] in the loss of about 1 million jobs in 2013 and 2014 and a half a percent cut to America’s already meager economic growth.” [6/24/12]
Then: “We don’t look to the government usually to create jobs. What we like to see them do is get out of our hair and let us create the jobs.” [5/21/12]
REP. RANDY FORBES
Now: “For reasons of both national security and local jobs, citizens of Hampton Roads ought to carefully consider the sober assessments of our military commanders and leaders regarding the impacts of adding another $600 billion in security cuts to the $489 billion Congress has already enacted.” [10/08/11]
Then: “Congressman Forbes believes there is a simple truth when it comes to job creation in America: real solutions create real growth that generates real jobs. In order to make this happen, government needs to get out of the way.” [
And outside of the hypocrisy, the GOP’s jobs argument is spurious. Republicans are holding up a new industry-backed study claiming the military spending cuts will mean a loss of nearly one million jobs. But experts have pointed out the report’s many flaws, mainly that government spending in non-defense sectors of the economy creates more jobs.
The study is good for “political purposes, not very good analysis of the labor market,” said defense budget expert Gordon Adams. CATO expert Chris Preble said the report shows that the industry is just “trying to save their profits.”
There’s also no evidence that the military spending sequester will be “devastating” as some have argued and polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans favor cutting DOD’s budget. But Republicans will most likely ignore these facts and fight to preserve the Pentagon’s needlessly bloated budget, all while abandoning a central tenet of their party’s ideology.