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08:51 AM on 05/01/2013
"War is a Racket," by Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC (1881-1940), summarized here:

http://wanttoknow.info/warisaracket

Four stars .. Distinguished Service Medal .. Congressional Medal of Honor (twice). Listen up.
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frank1946
Tell the Truth
08:02 AM on 05/01/2013
Fear sells US Bonds.

Rates are low, wonder why ?

Peace is a Disaster for Interest Rates !
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Bobisgod
Working class God
07:27 AM on 05/01/2013
Um, human beings get killed & injured in wars, money is not the issue!
03:31 AM on 05/01/2013
If war is good for the economy then the economy is an evil thing.
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Ruthless1
Enough TEA already!
01:50 AM on 05/01/2013
The War economy is here to stay. Unless of course we starve it to death by no longer supporting conflicts abroad and bring home all of our troops from everywhere. Being the bully of the world is not sustainable, but spending all of that money at home would have built a lot of new roads and bridges. Putting a lot of people back to work.
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offred
A biocitizen is 3/5 of a corporate citizen
12:27 AM on 05/01/2013
War is bad for children and other living things.
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Bobisgod
Working class God
07:25 AM on 05/01/2013
U beat me 2 it.
11:39 PM on 04/30/2013
I would have to guess that this perception started because of WWII. After a decade in which Keynesian domestic spending failed to lift us out of the Great Depression, the spending on the war is widely credited for our economy's recovery. However, I believe it had more to do with women entering the workforce in huge numbers. Also, much of our output was sold to the Allies before we entered the war- an obvious boost to our GDP- whereas today, most of our military output is consumed by our own military.

The military still serves an important economic function- it is the surest way for someone to pursue the rags-to-riches "American dream"- but to suggest that increased spending in this field will boost to our economy is wishful thinking. Otherwise, we're no better than Paul Krugman, who actually suggested that it would boost our economy if our gov't made up a threat of alien invasion.
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kamact
Market Observer
09:19 PM on 04/30/2013
Wars are good for banksters, MIC executives and stockholders...and bad for the rest of us, especially for the soldiers and their families. I recommend sending in those that most benefit...send the banksters to the front line...This would prevent these bloody useless wars...
11:40 PM on 04/30/2013
Wow what an insightful comment
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10:10 AM on 05/01/2013
Please note that only government officials have authority to send soldiers to wars.
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Dragonfly78
Open up your mind to see clearly
01:12 PM on 05/01/2013
who do you suppose owns and backs the governments?
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08:08 PM on 04/30/2013
Great article thank you.

Is war good for the economy? in comparison to what? Our economy since the 80s has been shipping jobs overseas, shifting tax burdens off the rich, deregulating industries, ruining the environment, moving capital to foreign nations, busting unions, paying lower wages, increasing education costs, basically building a mired muck that newborn Americans will be buried under for their entire lives.
What economy? We have been practicing "Deconomy" since Reagan entered office.
...... Oh but the rich still get richer. Vibrant economy for the 1%. Stifling stunting deconomy for the rest of us. .... Amen Mr. Lofgren keep testifying.
11:42 PM on 04/30/2013
You need to expand your horizons my friend. You would think that in the middle of all that MSNBC rhetoric there would be a single fact.. oh wait, you get your info from left-wing media, of course there aren't any facts in there.
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Dragonfly78
Open up your mind to see clearly
01:13 PM on 05/01/2013
I love it, so there are some people who dont have their head stuck in the sand and are paying attention! your comment is spot on. SPOT ON!
08:01 PM on 04/30/2013
The idea that war is good for the economy is Keynesian nonsense. Common sense tells us that war is bad for the economy, that using scarce resources to blow up other scarce resources makes us all poorer, not richer.
11:42 PM on 04/30/2013
"Broken glass theory"- a centerpiece of Keynesian economics
03:39 AM on 05/01/2013
That is a misleading representation of Keynes. That is only mentioned as an extreme example to make a point, and is prefaced by an explanation which is in effect, if government is too stupid to do anything else even something as immoral and unproductive as war can stimulate an economy but not as effectively as more moral and useful expenditures.
10:38 AM on 05/02/2013
Keynes mentions war as a means to stimulate the economy.  He also advocated for the destruction of all of South London.
07:13 PM on 04/30/2013
The only good point and it is major for our reliance on finance industry (Wall Street) that I have ever heard discussing this with smart conservatives - used to work with engineers and scientists at a southern facility for a couple years and half those guys were conservatives but smart engineers and scientists, is that having a strong and well rated millitary like the best by far (at least would think so by dollar cost of it) attracts foreign investors into putting their money into our country becasue it is safer here physically. As for the economics other than that of having wars, only thing I can see it help bring wealth into the country for all to share (that is another discussion) is if we sell weapons to other countries becasue that brings in more fresh money in the sales to add to foreigners investing.
11:44 PM on 04/30/2013
Hmm interesting perspective. Still, I would expect significantly diminishing returns once you reach the point that you can fund a war on two fronts, and we are far beyond that point.
01:40 AM on 05/01/2013
Yep the value of warring to show off strength and weapons or to test the new ones in real action was done a long time ago and could have been done in one war.  Ike should have asked if our leaders taking over after he left WH if they want a lecture on that "beware of the military industrial complex" to go a little further than just his short warning.  I think he could have taken a day or two really lecturing new leaders on the quicksand of getting to friendly with war, it sucks the country in just like quicksand and impossible to get out of that mode.
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novowel4me
06:49 PM on 04/30/2013
War is the GOP version of a stimulus - suddenly, borrowing trillions becomes OK in fact it's patriotic.
11:46 PM on 04/30/2013
Careful- if you admit that it doesn't actually spur economic growth, you'll also denounce other Keynesian spending schemes. Just stick to baseless accusations like "Republicans are evil."
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novowel4me
06:37 AM on 05/01/2013
Did I say it didn't work?  After all, WWII totally ended the great depression. If the GOP ever regains the White House, there will be another war and there will not be a whisper of paying for it by any method other than borrowing.  Or, perhaps you can cite an instance in the past thirty years or so where that statement has not been true.
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Duerksen
...but on the other side, it didn't say nothing.
06:58 AM on 05/01/2013
WWII was waged on Keynesian principles - full employment, good wages, good benefits for the labor end of things; "No War Billionaires!" and 93% taxes on the upper brackets for the management side. The middle class burgeoned and was healthy until hamstrung by Reagan in the 80's.

Bushes wars, conversely, also spent massive amounts of our money, but the target was corporate profits. Victory was not a real goal, as there was not real military objective, it was all just marketing for a giant fleecing of the American treasury. Tax cuts for the top percentages was icing on the war profiteers' cake.
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10:27 AM on 05/01/2013
Not just the GOP. We have 2 parties of war, if you have not noticed. Most Dems pretend to be antiwar only if the war is not started by their guy.
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novowel4me
02:06 PM on 05/01/2013
Which war in the last thirty years was started and left unfinished by a Democrat administration?
06:48 PM on 04/30/2013
Instead, a disproportionate share is siphoned into high-cost R&D (from which the civilian economy benefits little)...

---

Kinda like that DARPA project, oh - what was it again? Oh, yes... the internet.
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MassWG
08:40 PM on 04/30/2013
That just points to the sad fact that war is one of few accepted justifications for high-cost R&D. What if all the tens of trillions spent on weapons systems and military actions had been devoted to non-military R&D? Who's to say we wouldn't already have safe thorium reactors or some other cheap and plentiful energy source, or other advance that weren't just accidental by-products of warfare spending?

Just because the internet DID arise from military R&D does not mean it HAD to arise from that form of R&D.
11:50 PM on 04/30/2013
One advantage of military R&D is that it is not politically motivated (ok, maybe a little, but way less than Congressional R&D). Since Pentagon officials don't need campaign contributions, Solyndra-style scandals are not as much of a concern.
06:52 PM on 05/01/2013
Research was done by the US on thorium reactors... which were determined to be not effective in producing the needed plutonium for hydrogen bombs. Had our energy companies used the research instead of letting go fallow, we'd have built thorium reactors for civilian use. Which is yet another example of a technology that arose from military R&D.
09:51 PM on 04/30/2013
Based on the history of the internal DARPA project to connect its research databases, it would appear that the amount spent by DARPA that led to the development of the internet was relatively small.
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Micheal Anderson
When the Rebels become the Tyrants
06:17 PM on 04/30/2013
When America used to actually fight its wars yeah, it could boost the economy. But we don't fight our own wars anymore, we don't even pay for them.
08:02 PM on 04/30/2013
False. Stop listening to the propaganda and use some common sense. How does using limited resources and labor to destroy other resources and lives help the economy?
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themanwithnoname
05:22 PM on 04/30/2013
Maybe instead of spending money building Guns and Tanks and Planes we could use it on Roads, Construction and Public Works.

Even though you can create even more jobs and improve the infrastructure these people called Republicans won't vote for something that can't kill someone.