Simple conclusions hard to find in wake of Lockheed Martin announcement

Today’s surprise announcement that Eagan is going to lose 650 jobs is certainly an invitation to revisit the simple proverbs of the recently completed campaign season.

Six-hundred-and-fifty jobs? That’s a lot of people working and spending money. Is the impact of losing them going to be any less just because they were jobs created with government money?

Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, makes the avionics systems for the P-1 marine surveillance plane. It’s a private company, of course, that employs the people because the U.S. and other nations wage wars and/or have huge defense budgets.

There’s a little something for everyone in today’s announcement. Except for the people losing their jobs.

The reality of how intertwined jobs are with government spending becomes more clear, and more confusing. Liberals, for example, might point out that conservatives are for less government spending and this is what happens when government spends less; that the claim that “government doesn’t create jobs” is wrong. They could even point out that the jobs are going to three states, two of which are rated in the top 10 of business-unfriendly states.

But conservatives could equally point out that liberals who want the U.S. to cut its defense budget will cost people their jobs. And that peace thing? War employs people even as it bankrupts a treasury.

In the complex nature of the economy, where does the government part end and the private part begin?

In other unemployment news today, Republicans in the House have blocked a bill

that would have extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed beyond the holiday season.Two million people will lose benefits averaging $310 a week nationwide by the end of the year.

  • Disco

    “But conservatives could equally point out that liberals who want the U.S. to cut its defense budget will cost people their jobs.”

    That is absolutely true. But if they’re going to play that card, then conservatives must acknowledge that the military amounts to a jobs program. And that’s essentially socialism, if you want to use the parlance of our time.

    But I suppose that’s acceptable to them when the money is being spent to bomb other nations and kill people we don’t know. It’s OK then.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Although the Supreme Court has decided that corporations have the same rights as human beings, they lack something that many human beings do have – a conscience. Then you place war-profiteering corporations into the equation, and all bets are off regarding their behavior.

  • Charlie Quimby

    Of course government-paid jobs are real jobs, whether they go to teachers, cops and bureaucrats or to highway, defense and IT contractors.

    The debate should be about whether the programs and services are needed, and whether the public is willing to fund them. Those needs may wax and wane with time and place.

  • bsimon

    I fail to see the government tie-in here. Yes, the gov’t buys the end product (the aircraft in which the avionics are installed), but the local plant closure is not the result of gov’t spending cuts. According to the linked article, Lockheed is restructuring – moving the manufacturing to other facilities – not shutting down production for want of sales.

    If there’s a government tie in here, it might be in the state looking forward & helping Eagan identify what these workers’ skills are & determine how to attract a manufacturer that requires such a workforce.

    On the larger issue of the jobs impact of smaller government, I’ve never yet heard a journalist ask a candidate how many state employees would be put out of work when government is shrunk. Surely it is not news to these candidates that payroll is a significant piece of the budget theyr trying to shrink; how many people will they have to fire – and add to the ranks of unemployed – in order to hit their spending reduction targets? Followup question: how does this help private industry rebound & get back on track? More poor schmucks desperate for work drives down the cost of labor?

  • Bob Collins

    //I fail to see the government tie-in here. Yes, the gov’t buys the end product (the aircraft in which the avionics are installed), but the local plant closure is not the result of gov’t spending cuts.

    Nope, but clear there’s an intent to separate private business from government spending and this is an example that there really is no difference in many cases.