Nothing Like a Third Forever War to Boost the Confidence of the Military-Industrial Complex

Digby points to Gallup polling numbers showing that Washington DC is the only place in the country that has improving confidence.

See, David Plouffe was right. People are feeling better about their economic prospects. At least, the people within his little bubble are.

But he might want to think about why people in his bubble are feeling good about their economic prospects.

First, because they–and neighboring states VA and MD, also among the most confident states–have been the recipients of 10 years of stimulus, supporting government-created jobs, the kind of jobs he likes to pretend don’t exist. Stimulus makes jobs which makes people feel good (and it’s worth noting that MI, which has benefited form a disproportionate share of stimulus sent to the midwest, is not among the 10 most grumpy states).

Plus, all these people living well off their Military-Industrial stimulus have reason to celebrate, as we’ve recently added another forever war for them to profit off of.

And then there’s another key industry that DC residents will be profiting off of: the upcoming billion dollar Presidential campaign, now kicking off in grand style. Heck, analyzing who eats fried butter more authentically will even provide job security for DC journos for the next 15 months.

Finally, how much do you think the lobbyist industry will rain down on Congress for having brought the country to the edge of an abyss as a political stunt? How much do you think the lobbyist industry will invest in SuperCongress?

Sure, it’s a great time to be in DC.

I don’t know why the rest of the country just can’t be grateful that at least DC is doing well.

Update: As if on cue, The WaPo describes the confidence fairies that have benefited from federal stimulus, then raises concerns that this gravy train of unlimited stimulus might soon end. (h/t Teddy)

Millions of dollars worth of federal contracts transformed Anita Talwar from a government accounting clerk into a wealthy woman — one who can afford a $2.8 million home with its own elevator, wine cellar and Swarovski crystal chandeliers in the Washington suburbs.

Talwar, a 59-year-old immigrant from India, had no idea that she and her husband would amass a small fortune when she launched a company providing tech support to the federal government in 1987. But she shrewdly took advantage of programs for minority-owned small businesses and rode a boom in federal contracting.


Anita Talwar’s success — and that of hundreds of other contractors like her — is a key factor driving the explosion of the region’s wealth over the last two decades. It has also exacerbated the gap between high- and low-wage workers, which is wider in the D.C. area than almost anywhere else in the U.S.


The new Washington is a global business hub with thriving technology, biotech and communications industries. Only 12 percent of workers are federal employees. But the federal government remains an engine of job creation, outsourcing its tech support and other services to contracting firms ringing the Capital Beltway, a phenomenon that exploded in the years after 9/11.

More than $80 billion in federal contracting dollars will flow to the region this year, up from $4.2 billion in 1980, according to Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a seven-fold increase. A third of the region’s gross regional product now comes from federal spending.

But that tide is likely to slow because of a $1 trillion debt-reduction package approved earlier this month by Congress and President Obama. In the coming months, a bipartisan“supercommittee” will be searching for another $1.5 trillion in savings. Defense contractors are already bracing themselves for deep cuts in military spending.

12 replies
  1. Mauimom says:

    Maybe DC is so “confident” because they have neither Senators nor a Congressperson to “represent” them.

  2. Your Cheney's Cheney says:

    A golden decade for defense companies is ending

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the federal government is deeply in debt. This spells the end of what was a golden decade for the defense industry.

    In the decade since the September 11 attacks, the annual defense budget has more than doubled to $700 Billion and annual defense industry profits have nearly quadrupled, approaching $25 Billion last year.

    Now defense spending is poised to retreat, and so are industry profits.

  3. Valley Girl says:

    @Valley Girl:

    No edit, so I mean, since when did DC acquire statehood, in the official sense? Just seems weird that Gallup gives DC statehood, although really, that probably is inadvertently correct.

  4. host says:

    Sorry, this is OT, but it should be noted in passing that the new “Humbler” version of Mark Sanford emerges to give his first interview since his self destruction. He told Piers Morgan on CNN, as I’m posting this, that 44 percent in America pay no income taxes, and of the 56 percent who do pay, only 20 percent are net contributors, for the first 100 years of the existence of the country, federal spending was only 3 percent of GDP and it is only in the last 50 years that spending has really ramped up.
    Just one more example that, instead of the focus, concern, and the advocacy being about solving or lessening the crisis itself, that the bottom 80 percent own just 12. 3 percent of the wealth, we see another lizard concerned with the 20 percent who he calls the “net contributors”, the 20 percent who own 87.3 percent of the wealth. Nearly the entire collection of elected federal office holders are poised to force poverty on a huge number of the already poor. The “humbler” Sanford answered Morgan’s question about raising more revenue as a partial solution, with a NO…..Sanford believes only in cutting spending. The impass will result in more wealth concentration, and it will be settled someday, only after much blood has been spilled. No peaceful, political solution to stop the march to even further wealth concentration is even faintly visible on the horizon. The small steps of sunseting the Bush tax cuts and savings from suspension of war operations are not going to happen, unemployment and the soon to end impact from exhaustion of unemployment insurance payments are not going to be responded to with a buyout, retirement incentive aimed at employed workers in their late 50’s and older. The political priorities are militarism, helping the wealthiest take a chunk of that last 12.3 percent they don’t already own, and testing methods to put down dissent, as we’ve seen with the shutdown of cellular service in public places in SF.

  5. tejanarusa says:

    Sigh. I didn’t understand why Obama didn’t push the stimulus/Johnson Controls connection, either. It’s bizarre.
    His speeches yesterday and today sounded so Republican – we’re doing really well, we’re a great country, jobs are coming back…etc., etc. To people who know better about jobs!

    I just don’t understand how a man who ran such a great campaign in ’08 became so tone deaf so fast. Even if he didn’t believe what he said, at least he didn’t seem to have dropped in from another decade.
    I dunno…did this all start when the Secret Service insisted on taking away O’s Blackberry? Thus ensuring pure bubble living, and no old friends with the guts to tell the Emperor the truth.
    I think he really has bought the debt/deficit fable, and that just makes me want to pound my head on the table.

  6. host says:

    The catalyst for FDR’s ability to “get it” was due to a serious challenge from the left. Huey Longh was a lion, Obama is a disingenuous puppet.:

    Long Built Up Political Sway Through His Hold on Louisiana…

    $3.95 – New York Times – Sep 11, 1935
    His Huey Pierce Long and Cafedo. mia Tilson Long. …. for restricting any person s income to than $1000000 a year and no inheritance of morethan $5000.000

    A funny thing happened on the way to the White House: … – Page 99 E. Johnson, Johnny Ray Johnson – 2004 – 247 pages – Google eBook – Preview

    Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York said that he preferred “Roosevelt with his known faults to Willkie with his unknown virtues.” Replying in kind, a Republican said, “The President s only supporters are paupers, those that earn less than twelve hundred dollars, and the Roosevelt family.” FDR replied with unrestrained glee that we should forget the Roosevelt family, “but these Americans whom this man calls ‘paupers'” constitute half of the American people.

    Philadelphia: a 300 year history – Page 636
    Russell Frank Weigley, Edwin Wolf – 1982 – 842 pages –

    The Democrats were helped not a little by Willkie’s local campaign manager Robert T. McCracken, who made the injudicious comment that “only paupers will vote for Roosevelt” and therewith gave his opponents opportunity for some effective street theater. The Democrats sent out, to the delight of many, shabbily dressed men wearing “stove-pipe” hats and sporting huge buttons with the legend, “I am a pauper for Roosevelt.” On Election Day the city gave Roosevelt 532149 ” On Election Day the city gave Roosevelt 532149 votes to Willkie’s 354878….,4165520&dq=welfare-programs-govern-*&hl=en
    Most Of Huey Long’s Goals Achieved, Son Says…‎ Toledo Blade – Sep 7, 1965

    ….Welfare programs, govern ment construction of highways and hospitals, abolition of poll taxes, and free education are Just some of Huey Long’s programs that have long since become the law, the senator said, adding that Social Security and welfare benefits go beyond what he envisioned.

    Parallels Noted
    “President Johnson has said he used to come over and listen to Huey Long speak,” the senator added, noting that a large part of the President’s education and anti-poverty programs bear a similarity to the Kingfish’s ideas.

    There have been differences, too. “We’ve tried to help people own their own homes.” he added. “He tried to give it to them debt free.”

    ……Limit On Fortunes
    The cornerstone of the Kingfish’s financial progran was to limit personal fortunes to about $50 million and inheritance to $5 million. “If you took the (inheritance) law based on intent, we’ve gone as far as he’s advocated. But people find ways to get around it,” the senator (Huey Long’s son) said…

    Consider how many web pages the Social Security Admin. devotes to Senator Huey Long.

    Huey Long – Social Security Administration
    Huey Long was Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1930. A nominal Democrat, Huey Long was a radical populist, of a …
    Huey Long – Social Security Online History Pages
    During his three brief years in the U.S. Senate, Huey Long became one of the …
    Excerpts from Huey Long’s Autobiography – Social Security Online …
    In 1933, at the ripe old age of 39, Huey Long published his autobiography .

  7. scribe says:

    Meanwhile, I watch the clown on my local TV news smirking about how a manufacturer in the area (way out in the country) has CNC machining and welding jobs going begging, at $11/hour.

    Given that the daily cost of commuting would, for anyone with an average vehicle, be about 2 hours post-tax pay, I can’t see why anyone would be balking at picking up the jobs. I mean, come on – work for nothing! Pay to work!


    FWIW, 30 years ago, my dad did CNC machining and was paid $17/hour, plus shift differential, plus union benefits, plus medical and dental. Of course, $17 went a hell of a lot farther when gas was $0.499 gallon, and not $3.899.

  8. joberly says:

    @host #8: Thanks for “Humbler” update. Sounds like CNN may be trying him out for a talk show slot to replace another former fallen, and then cancelled governor? Either that or the Outdoor Channel might have an opening for a “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” show…

  9. newz4all says:

    Anti-Tax Club For Growth, Mega-Banks Top List Of Donors To Super Committee Members

    According to a study by, the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth has donated more to the members of the fiscal super committee that was created by the debt ceiling deal than any other organization. Also among the top 10 donors to the super committee are mega-banks Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America.

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