Political Economy and Geography of Military Spending

Authors: Robert Reuschlein*, Real Economy Institute
Topics: Military Geography, Political Geography, Regional Geography
Keywords: Military, Industrial, Politics, Economics, Regionalism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Military spending plays a unique role in the power structure of the Unites States government. Those closely affiliated with large amounts of military spending per capita in their home states are those with either the most power or have the best opportunities for power in the congress. Likewise, presidential candidates that come from states significantly influenced with military economies as a major portion of their state economy are usually the best prepared for foreign policy and military issues, often an essential ingredient in presidential candidate success. The nature of the major military spending in a state will color a candidates approach to major issues. Normal industries are important to a state economy and are affected to varying degrees by federal policies and regulations, but military industries are often 80% dependent on federal budget spending, a uniquely strong bond between industry and the political structure. Committee heads and congressional leaders are in an especially powerful position to allocate military spending and accrue the power that comes from that position. No other major area of federal spending is so easily sent to another state or community as military contracts. Hardly any other federal spending category can fluctuate so much for a community, making military spending a dominant factor in local political judgements. One easy way to recognize this power is to see where states rank on the per capita military spending rankings of all states, dividing states into high military spending power states and low military spending less powerful states.

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