Observing the continuing economic crisis, Washington Post columnist David Broder asks “Can Obama harness the forces that might spur new growth?”
The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.
Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.
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.
Dean Baker corrects Broder on the basic economics, noting that “War affects the economy the same way that other government spending affects the economy”:
If spending on war can provide jobs and lift the economy then so can spending on roads, weatherizing homes, or educating our kids. Yes, that’s right, all the forms of stimulus spending that Broder derided so much because they add to the deficit will increase GDP and generate jobs just like the war that Broder is advocating (which will also add to the deficit).
Leaving aside the ridiculous idea that we can just ramp up the war machine, whip America into an anti-Iran frenzy and then shut it all down once the economy’s back on track, there’s the question of basic human decency. Especially in light of what has just occurred in Iraq, what kind of moral degenerate seriously suggests we get ready to do it again in neighboring Iran, just as a way to spur job growth?
The kind who writes a regular column in the Washington Post, apparently.