In his interview on Working For Change website, "Chalmers Johnson on our military empire (Part I) Cold warrior in a strange land"
Mr Johnson points out that our military, the most obvious face the United States shows to the world, is propping up our economy, in a Depression style make-work program.
Militarily, we've got an incoherent, not very intelligent budget. It becomes less incoherent only when you realize the ways it's being used to fund our industries or that one of the few things we still manufacture reasonably effectively is weapons. It's a huge export business, run not by the companies but by foreign military sales within the Pentagon.
This is not, of course, free enterprise. Four huge manufacturers with only one major customer. This is state socialism and it's keeping the economy running not in the way it's taught in any economics course in any American university. It's closer to what John Maynard Keynes advocated for getting out of the Great Depression -- counter-cyclical governmental expenditures to keep people employed.
The country suffers from a collective anxiety neurosis every time we talk about closing bases and it has nothing to do with politics. New England goes just as mad over shutting down the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as people here in San Diego would if you suggested shutting the Marine Corps Air Station. It's always seen as our base. How dare you take away our base! Our congressmen must get it back!
How true that is, and how much more solid our economy would be if all that money were put to use creating high tech industries that would help to clean up and power a new post oil lifestyle!
Instead of new imaginative industry, we export the religion of death. How sad.