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Take This Job and Shove It

Is defense spending really a good way to create middle-class jobs?

Words: Laicie Heeley
Pictures: Marc Johns / Cast from Clay

Conversations about downsizing America’s defense budget almost immediately stall out in a Catch-22: Reallocating those tax dollars to invest in domestic priorities would be devastating to the many small cities where a manufacturing plant, ICBM silo, or military base is the lifeblood of the local economy.

If Biden begins to shift some money away from defense, or even just, away from some of the big weapons systems a lot of defense towns are tasked to build, does that mean a whole lot of middle-class jobs might get cut?

What if there’s a better option? One that fits more closely with Biden’s plans for the middle class?

Listen and subscribe now on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyPocket Casts, or wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks.

GUESTS: Natalie Click, PhD student at Arizona State University; Taylor Barnes, Journalist; Miriam Pemberton, Institute for Policy Studies


From Arms to Renewables: How Workers in This Southern Military Industrial Hub Are Converting the Economy, Taylor Barnes, Southerly Magazine.

‘Honk for Humane Jobs’: NC Activists Challenge Subsidies for Weapons Maker, Taylor Barnes, Facing South.

Let’s Turn Our Military Resources To Building a Post-COVID Industrial Base for All Americans, Miriam Pemberton, Newsweek.

Study Says Domestic, Not Military Spending, Fuels Job Growth, Brown University.

How Much More Expensive Can the F-35 Actually Get? Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics.

Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.


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