We got a big reminder of the importance of government spending in the Q4 GDP report. The damn military delayed some expenditures for a few months, and it knocked 1.3% of the quarter's growth rate. If it weren't for the pikers at the Pentagon, we would have been in the black. GDP = Jobs, and everyone wants jobs, so it would be "patriotic" if the Generals and Admirals got off of their asses and and got back to spending. Right?
As it turns out, the Top Brass can't move the economy's needle, at least not compared to other parts of the government that are spending the bucks that keeps things humming.
The pride of the military is the aircraft carrier. We have 11 of them floating around today. There's good reason to believe these ships, with their monster offensive capability might come in handy, so for that reason, and the good of the economy, we should build some more. These babies cost $12B:
$12B sounds like a lot, but compare it to what Social Security has paid out in just the month of February - $66b went out the door. SS is now spending at the rate of five aircraft carriers a month!
Of course if you're going to build the odd dozen carriers, you will need lots of new planes to go with them. Each ship needs 70 of the F/A -18 attack bombers.
The F/A-18 goes for $60m, about 90 minutes worth of SS payments. Some other comparisons of military hardware and SS:
The M1 Abrams Tank (a monster) cost the same as 3 minutes worth of SS's annual cost.
We could probably use a few more of these B1 bombers. They must be a blast to fly. They are very expensive, each one costs about two hours of the tab for SS.
The future is drones. What better way to fight a war but behind a TV screen, right? The MQV-1 Predator is just what we need. The good news that these killers only cost the equivalent of 3 minutes of SS. The Hell Fire Missiles the MQV fires leave a big hole in what ever they hit, the cost is negligible. SS is spending at a rate equal to the cost of 15 Hell Fires - every second.
Okay, I'm kidding a bit with this. But the comparisons are legit. America can't change spending by reducing the carrier fleet 10%. The cost of the extra ship is a rounding error when compared to SS.
Please don't take this to read that I want to increase military spending as a vehicle to create jobs. This is just another effort of mine to make some comparisons of what is going on at SS. The numbers are mind boggling. Yet in the next several weeks, as the sequester talks hit the pavement, SS will not be addressed. There will be some talk, but there will be no action.