The public explanation for the decision of the Buncombe County commissioners to give tax incentives to Pratt & Whitney was that we need the jobs. There is a better way.
In 2011, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst produced a peer-reviewed report about the comparative effects on job creation between investments in the military-industrial complex, on the one hand, and clean energy, education and health care, on the other.
The report’s conclusion was straightforward and unequivocal: “Investments in clean energy, health care and education create a much larger number of jobs across all pay ranges, including midrange jobs (paying between $32,000 and $64,000) and high-paying jobs (paying over $64,000).”
In 2019, these findings were updated in a report from Brown University titled “War Spending and Lost Opportunities.” Here is its conclusion: “Including both direct and indirect jobs, the military creates 6.9 jobs per $1 million, while the clean energy industry and infrastructure each support 9.8 jobs, health care supports 14.3, and education supports 15.2. So for the same amount of spending, clean energy and infrastructure create 40 percent more jobs than the military, health care creates 100% more, and education 120% more.”
The common understanding that the defense industry is the source of the most and best jobs is false.
We should be giving tax incentives to local sustainable businesses, not to a multinational corporation that relies on fossil fuels and perpetuates a war industry that is the scourge of the world. And which will undoubtedly leave us with an environmental and health mess after it predictably moves on.
— Ken Jones