Deficits, Dollar, Game Theory, Individual v. Collective, Live and Learn

Recommending War To Save the Economy… and Obama’s Presidency

War Stimulus

What is with this obsession about going to war to get us out of the recession? OK, most of these guys, such as Paul Krugman, simply use the myth that World War II got us out of the Great Depression as an excuse for further deficit spending. But some hack from the Washington Post named David Broder at least flirts with recommending Obama go to war with Iran to fix the economy… and get himself elected to a second term.

After spending the majority of the article explaining how Obama is smarter and better than any other candidate (with virtually no evidence) he then states that one example—World War II for the United States, and only the United States—proves war helps the economy.

“Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.”

He at least says “I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected.” But of course that doesn’t necessarily mean Obama shouldn’t go to war (wink, nod):

“But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.”

Going to war with Iran with our massive fiscal deficits and overstretched military is obviously a horrible idea. Does this guy think the Soviet Union collapsed in spite of maintaining an empire and fighting a war in Afghanistan? Even the evidence that Iran is attempting to acquire a nuclear weapon is questionable at best.

But regardless of the unique situation with Iran, can you see why this myth is so dangerous? Media pundits may at least have the good sense to say “I’m not suggesting…” but power-hungry politicians are willing to latch onto just about anything to justify or help justify war. This myth needs to die.

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