War Is the Health of the Economy


Hyper-influential foreign policy intellectual establishmenteer Frederick Kagan has a long new piece in the National Review attacking, um, "hyper-sophisticates of the American foreign-policy and intellectual establishment." Or at least, the ones who aren't named Kagan.

One of his rebuttals to critics of the Kagans' War is sure to win over you FDR fanboys out there:

Modern economics has long understood that the notion of a one-for-one guns-versus-butter trade-off is simply wrong. A high proportion of money spent on defense goes back into the U.S. economy in the form of salaries paid to the more than 5 million Americans employed directly or indirectly by the Defense Department, and payments to the defense industry and the long and complex supply chains from which they draw their raw materials. Military spending has traditionally been a form of economic stimulus, and wars more commonly end recessions or depressions than start them.

Whole Kagger here; thanks to commenter Don for the link. And for something completely different, a reminder to check out Veronique de Rugy's cover story from reason's May issue. Excerpt:

How much money is $1 trillion? Enough to pay for the entire 1976 federal budget, adjusted for inflation. Enough to write a check for $37,500 to every Iraqi man, woman, and child. Enough to buy 169,492 Black Hawk helicopters, or 455 stealth bombers. Enough, in nominal terms, to pay for the entire federal government from 1789 to 1957. And it's 10 times more than what specialists predict it would take to eradicate malaria once and for all.

To distract people from the real price tag of a two-front war, the president and Congress have used an unprecedented and fiscally irresponsible budgetary trick: a series of "emergency" supplemental spending bills totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. This scheme has allowed them not only to hide the costs of the conflicts but also to avoid painful budget choices while funneling billions of dollars in unvetted goodies to favored interest groups.