Defense contractors shift to the left

Defense contractors shift to the left
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Employees of the defense industry have given more campaign donations to socialist Bernie Sanders than any other presidential candidate, including Trump. It seems odd. But the socialist Soviet Union did devote a larger fraction of its economy to military spending than the U.S.

Over time, the defense industry has shifted leftward, just as the military itself has stopped being conservative-leaning in its campaign contributions. High-ranking officers have become much more left-leaning since the 1980’s. Politically-correct military leaders tried to cover up the blindness toward Islamic extremism that resulted in the Fort Hood massacre during the Obama administration. They depicted it as mere “workplace violence” that had nothing to do with terrorism, even though it was inspired by Islamic extremism.

A military obsession with being politically-correct created a climate in which officers were afraid to report the suspicious behavior of the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal M. Hasan. Although his anti-American, pro-terrorist views were common knowledge, “a fear of appearing discriminatory . . . kept officers from filing a formal written complaint,” reported the Associated Press. As a result, he escaped any disciplinary action or review of his fitness.

His superiors did nothing to remove him from a position where he could harm others, even though he said Muslims should rise up against the military, and he “repeatedly expressed sympathy for suicide bombers.” He was pleased by the terrorist murder of an army recruiter, and publicly called for the beheading or burning of non-Muslims. And he spoke “about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire.” But thanks to a politically-correct double standard, nothing was done,  even though intelligence officials knew he was trying to contact Al Qaeda.

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Congress should stop increasing the Pentagon’s budget. Billions of dollars in waste and unnecessary spending could easily be trimmed from the military budget, without harming military readiness.

Industries that receive taxpayer dollars tend to be further to the left than industries that don’t. Taxpayer subsidies make industries evolve leftward. So government spending can undermine both conservative values and our free-market economy.

The education sector is a classic example. There used to be lots of conservative professors; now there are very few. College administrators are even further to the left than professors. That is not surprising, because regulations created by progressive officials often create the need for college bureaucrats’ jobs in the first place. That gives college bureaucrats a vested interest in promoting the progressive agenda. Colleges have to comply with a constant flood of new regulations in exchange for receiving taxpayer dollars.

The healthcare sector also suggests that taxpayer subsidies make industries more left-leaning. Before Medicare and Medicaid, when healthcare was paid for almost entirely with private dollars, doctors were strongly Republican. But they have a mild Democratic tilt today, now that the government pays for healthcare for much of the population. Roughly half of all healthcare dollars are paid by federal, state, and local governments, through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Nurses have a much stronger Democratic tilt, and the biggest nurses union backed Bernie Sanders in both 2016 and the current presidential primary.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for CNSNews.com and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”