Sunday, February 22, 2009

The impact of the war on the economy

What if the 9/11 attacks never took place? What if Saddam Hussein allowed the UN inspectors to go wherever they wanted? Would the economy be stronger right now if the country wasn’t at war? Could President Obama fix the economy simply by bringing America’s best back to America?

We need to get past the myth that war is good for the economy. Whether military action is justified or not, it involves sending good people and expensive equipment from this country to some other part of the world. War is a drain on resources, and it is a tremendous expense that we shouldn’t want to pay unless we have no other choice.

The economic effects on our civilian population is a secondary concern in any decision to go to war. If the war is necessary and justified, then we really don’t have any choice but to endure certain hardships on the homefront. But whether one thinks that the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should continue, whether or not one agrees with the decision to go to war in the first place, our overseas engagements are contributing factors in the current situation.


tim zank said...

Robert, you make one huge assumption here, that being, that the money spent on the wars would actually be put to good use elsewhere here in the U.S.

History would indicate that is not the case. When given a surplus savings from one thing, Congress promptly throws ANY money down the proverbial toilet.

Robert Enders said...

You're partly right. Bush was a big proponent of tax cuts, but he also raised nonmilitary spending more than any post WW2 POTUS. Even more than LBJ.

Still, I think that it is better to waste tax money on projects in the US than it is to waste it overseas. Spend money on a bridge, and you still have that bridge 50 years later. Spent money on a jet fighter and it will simply be obsolete in 25 years.

Also, what about the materials used to make the weapons and ammunition? What about all the oil used to fuel the vehicles? We would have been able to bring down the cost of gas if diplomacy had succeeded. The cost of manufacturing consumer goods would have been reduced as well.

Last but not least, would the brave men who died in Iraq and Afghanistan simply have died elsewhere? I have a lot of respect for these men, and I would think that they would have found gainful employment had the war not taken place.