In justifying his decision not to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, President Trump has repeatedly claimed vast numbers of high-paying jobs would be created from the deals. Most recently, he has claimed 500,000 jobs would be created.
In reality, arms companies have been freely admitting this is false. The official line is that some jobs will “probably” be created by the deal. When they’re asked for estimates, the major arms-makers put the figure around 500, not 500,000.
That’s a pretty big difference, and one that President Trump would likely prefer not to bring attention to. The argument, after all, has been that retaliating for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi isn’t worth 500,000 jobs.
And as ugly as putting a bottom line price on the life of a man is, that’s clearly the argument we’re intended to have about the matter. If we’re talking about 500 jobs, not 500,000, the math surely becomes a lot different.