Let’s talk about investments in the military-industrial complex

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I’m worried about the stock activity of U.S. politicians, and you should be too.  

As someone who invests in the stock market, I make decisions based on where I put my money. This may be as minute as going to Target instead of Walmart, but it is nonetheless proof that what we invest in reflects our daily decisions. Similarly, I make decisions regarding my investments based on what I believe. Choosing to put your money in a sustainable company as opposed to, say, Exxon Mobil, is both a moral decision and a financial decision. This brings me to my next point.  

We’ve all heard the phrase “vote with your dollar,” which is further evidence that where we place our money is often reflective of our own ethics. So, someone who chooses to invest in solar instead of oil is saying, “I’d rather support sustainability instead of oil mining.” This all goes out of the window, however, when profits are maximized and ethics are cast aside. 

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are among the top weapons manufacturing companies for the United States Department of Defense, supplying munitions and other equipment for us and our allies. This includes weapons that the U.S. has sent to Ukraine, such as javelin missile launchers, which cost $178,000 to produce and $78,000 per missile. For reference, Ukraine told the U.S. it needs 500 javelins per day, which totals approximately $128 million per day. U.S. intervention of any kind exponentially benefits Raytheon and Lockheed Martin financially, and with it, anyone who is invested in these companies.  

The 2012 STOCK Act significantly expanded requirements for public disclosure of stock activity, requiring members of the House and Senate to report their trading activity to the public. Recent movement of Raytheon includes an acquisition by Rep. John Rutherford (Fla.) and trades by Rep. Diana Harshbarger (Tenn.). Lockheed Martin acquisitions by Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (GA) and trades by Rep. Lois Frankel (Fla.), who still owns stock in the company, also took place over the last month.  

It is worrying to see representatives owning a stake of companies directly tied to international wars. Much like our example of shopping at Target over Walmart, one cannot help but speculate that these politicians will be driven by their personal investments when making decisions regarding military intervention.  

Less than 48 hours after purchasing stock in Raytheon, Taylor-Greene tweeted “War is big business to our leaders,” a casual admission of guilt that reflects much more than her own actions. War is profitable for those invested in it, no matter the human toll, as seemingly nothing can stand in the way between U.S. politicians and their retirement accounts. This must be stopped.  

Whether we should allow politicians to invest in any part of the stock market is its own issue, as debates surrounding Washington insider trading have transpired since the inception of Wall Street. However, I believe we must come to a consensus regarding investments in the military-industrial complex, as it is unlikely that decisions surrounding conflict will remain unbiased if members of the U.S. government (and their Roths) are dependent on the success of companies like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.  

It’s difficult to envision a world in which anti-war movements succeed when those in power are directly invested in war itself. The U.S. military budget is egregiously large as is, we do not need contributions from politicians with the goal of increasing their net worths too. Tax resistance, anyone?  

1 COMMENT

  1. I appreciate you writing this post, and it is much more level-headed than I expected when I opened the article and saw an embedded tweet from Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    Just a couple thoughts: while war may increase the stock prices of weapons manufacturers, it negatively impacts most other areas of the economy. Most people in congress don’t actually make stock purchases personally, and they instead invest in funds or have money managers make purchases for them. While war may cause some aspects of their portfolio to go up, in general war is bad for business. Ukraine was a market with 48 million consumers, Russia was an even larger market – small in terms of GDP scale, but the loss of those markets plus the global impacts have far greater negative impact on stock prices than any of the increases in weapons manufacturers’ stock prices.

    Because we are dealing with weapons manufacturers here, it is easy to look at situations like this negatively. However, I am not convinced the corruption is as bad as many believe it is – when it comes to this specific issue, that is.

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