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If new jets, tanks, guns, missiles, contracts, etc. were not created, how would their economy/GDP be affected? Would it have such a significant impact that it would trigger another recession? These current wars may be debatable as to whether they were political or for profit. What percentage of US GDP is strictly military?
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How Much Does The United States Spend On Military 2019
We don’t have to wonder. The United States has done this many times. For example, at the end of the Cold War, military spending fell as much as it would have to fall now for it to disappear. From a high of 6.6% in 1982 to a low of 2.9% in 1999. In 2015, defense spending was 3.3% of GDP. At the end of World War II, it fell much more.
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The basic pattern is that at the end of the war, defense spending falls, there is a recession, and then there is a recovery. The economy is stronger after the recovery than during the war. Similarly, base closures have an average positive long-term employment impact (PDF). Of course, this may be wrong in individual cases.
This is a special case of the spoon myth. It’s true that doing unnecessary work can generate jobs. However, we can do better. Necessary work can make other work easier. So it not only generates instant work but other jobs as well.
Fix the tank and you have a working tank, useless for non-military purposes. Build a windmill, you have a windmill. It generates electricity which can then help with other activities. For example, it can produce light that can be used to work the night shift on highway repairs. Or to operate power tools. Or both.
Some military spending has positive side effects. For example, some research may also be used for civilian purposes. But most of it is just weight loss from an economic point of view.
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Multipliers are often misused. Yes, defense spending can create other jobs. But so can you spend on almost everything else. You can’t compare one employment category with another and only use multipliers in one. A similar multiplier can be obtained with other spending or tax cuts (allowing for more spending or investment).
Note: None of this should mean that defense spending is unnecessary in a world that actually exists. But neither should we pretend that defense spending is free. This is not a work programme. It’s a safety necessity.
It largely depends on what the money is spent on. Dollars spent on military procurement (e.g., new aircraft carriers, fighters, missiles, and tanks) go to defense contractors that create relatively few jobs per dollar spent, and these expenses have a relatively low “multiplier” in the economy because the final product itself it does not produce everything that contributes to the development of the economy (except, of course, preventing the invasion of armed enemies
Vikings and screw everything up, which is obviously the main reason why we spend money on defense).
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The money spent on reparations to soldiers creates many more jobs per dollar spent than large spending on military procurement, and is also partly an investment in human capital that will yield future economic returns as soldiers and sailors return to civilian life. So cuts in this kind of spending hurt the economy more.
If money that would normally be spent on defense is spent on things that have created jobs and boosted economic growth (e.g. decisions made based on the status quo don’t go as planned and people are preparing to use redirected funds in some new venture the economy didn’t have before – so short-term pain followed by long-term gain or long-term loss If the funds are invested in a way that is not conducive to employment and the economy (e.g. German Treasury bonds), then the economic situation is likely to deteriorate deterioration.
What would happen to the money that would be spent? Would there be a program to offer these companies non-defense contracts to help them switch to peacetime production? Or maybe the funds will be used to repay public debt? Or will the money be returned to taxpayers? If so, how will this be split/separated?
Even if we had specified very specific details, the answers would be largely speculative. We would have to look at the economic benefits of less spending or spending on capital goods or products that are actually used to benefit the economy (use of weapons or ammunition generally does not benefit the economy other than the expenses used to produce them)? What would be the cost or economic hit of cutting jobs in the defense industry? How drastic a change in what time would that be?
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Your question implies that there are no opportunity costs incurred as a result of the government spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on jets, tanks, weapons, missiles, contracts, etc.
The PoloHoleSet point about too many variables is probably the best answer you can get. Why? Because the economy has a trillion moving parts. A military industrial complex has just billions of moving parts.
When you consider the thousands or millions of private sector jobs that exist to keep our military supplied, there are many people who would be doing other things if this industry didn’t exist. Like working in other industries, going back to college or becoming an entrepreneur.
So let’s say in some alternate universe, there were no new jets, tanks, guns, missiles, contracts, etc., but money was being spent by the government on infrastructure, scientific research, space exploration, etc. Or even crazier, what would happen if these expenses have been subtracted from our tax burden, what citizens would do with all this available capital.
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Imagine if instead of working from January to March (or May/June, depending on your tax bracket) to pay income tax, that money was yours and you could do whatever you wanted with it. Think of the savings that people could accumulate and use to start a business, invest in a start-up, grow a business or buy a home… the possibilities are endless.
Not to be offensive, because I say it with all due respect, but your question is a bit shortsighted. Your question is like asking a southern plantation owner in 1845. “If there were no slaves in the field plowing and harvesting cotton, corn, etc.. what effect would this have had on the economy/GDP?” It’s hard to say exactly, but we know there are better, more ethical alternatives to using slave labor. We know that actually paying employees becomes more profitable for business owners because you get more productivity from them as a result of voluntary union.
The 19th century was a fantastic experiment in laissez faire free market economy and resulted in the greatest creation of wealth in the history of mankind, improvement in living and working conditions. Likewise, perhaps freeing up the hundreds of billions of wealth currently run by the federal government would allow all the moving parts of the economy to make the most intelligent decisions possible where to allocate those funds.
When private profit comes from government spending, the incentives become state-compliant… and there is nothing laissez-faire about it.
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Ignoring the obvious reason for the military’s existence, many things can be assumed about the immediate economic impact of drastic cuts or abolishment of the defense budget, but it wouldn’t take too much optimism to assume that the market would recover, at least for some time.
But soon the United States no longer has the strongest army in the world. The next two largest armed forces will soon surpass it, and if you don’t know it, they are controlled by communist dictatorships to which the US owes trillions of dollars in debt for cheap plastic consumer knickknacks (China et al.).
It is unthinkable that two superpowers and their communist-socialist allies come to collect their (increasing) contributions. 500 megatons of explosives later, the surviving Americans are forced to work in the most excruciatingly harsh and inevitable labor camps ever designed by men, with no chance of liberation for countless generations, except by some Providential Miracle far beyond even biblical proportions hitherto fulfilled.
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