RIDER OP-ED: Absent defense, our local economy is awful
Today the NORTH COUNTY TIMES ran my op-ed on the effect of defense spending in San Diego County. My thesis is that, absent our massive federal defense spending (responsible for 1 in 4 jobs in the county), the San Diego economy is simply “awful.” This fact is amazing, considering that that San Diego has the best climate in the nation. But our terrible government-imposed anti-business economic climate trumps our inherent advantages of nature.
NORTH COUNTY TIMES
RIDER: Without defense, our economy awful
June 26, 2012 • By RICHARD RIDER
Clearly, San Diego benefits from a huge, ongoing federal “stimulus package” that dwarfs federal subsidies to most other areas of the nation. Moreover, our area has disproportionately gained from the last decade’s defense “realignments,” in contrast to most other military-related local economies around our country.
Let me be clear. I’m not here writing about the merits or demerits of our national level of defense spending, nor our country’s de facto goal of remaining the world’s policeman. I’m here discussing the economic effect of defense spending in San Diego, and the strength of San Diego’s overall economy —- taking into consideration our region’s stridently anti-business economic climate.
San Diego boosters love to cite our area’s relatively low unemployment rate compared to the state of California. But taking defense spending into consideration, our local private sector economy is anything but vibrant.
Currently California has the nation’s third highest unemployment rate —- 10.8 percent in May. While the national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, not including California it is only 7.8 percent —- making the California unemployment rate 37.7 percent higher than the average of the other 49 states.
San Diego County’s April unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, much better than our state’s dismal figure. Moreover, if the job/bean counters included the 100,000-plus San Diego jobs of the folks in the armed forces, our rate would be another half-percent lower —- though still higher than the average of the other 49 states.
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To read the rest of my commentary, go to the link above.