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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press David Broder Calls for War With Iran to Boost the Economy

David Broder Calls for War With Iran to Boost the Economy

Sunday, 31 October 2010 07:51

This is not a joke (at least not on my part). David Broder, the longtime columnist and reporter at a formerly respectable newspaper, quite explicitly suggested that fighting a war with Iran could be an effective way to boost the economy. Ignoring the idea that anyone should undertake war as an economic policy, Broder's economics is also a visit to loon tune land.

Broder tells readers:

"Can Obama harness the forces that might spur new growth? This is the key question for the next two years.

What are those forces? Essentially, there are two. One is the power of the business cycle, the tidal force that throughout history has dictated when the economy expands and when it contracts.

Economists struggle to analyze this, but they almost inevitably conclude that it cannot be rushed and almost resists political command. As the saying goes, the market will go where it is going to go.

In this regard, Obama has no advantage over any other pol. Even in analyzing the tidal force correctly, he cannot control it.

What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy."

Sorry Mr. Broder, outside of Fox on 15th the world does not work this way. War affects the economy the same way that other government spending affects the economy. It does not have some mystical impact as Broder seems to think.

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).

So, we have two routes to prosperity. We can either build up our physical infrastructure and improve the skills and education of our workers or we can go kill Iranians. Broder has made it clear where he stands.



Comments (25)Add Comment
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written by Karim, October 31, 2010 11:14
I think that the ulterior purpose of such a recommendation is to make the industry of war the main source of employment, so that war is not only accepted by U.S. citizens but desired.
Possibly just Somesheimer's
written by Ron Alley, October 31, 2010 11:56
Sad. David Broder once was a great columnist. I enjoyed reading his column. Several years ago the quality of his writing dropped. This piece indicates that he may be suffering from a severe decline.
written by PeonInChief, October 31, 2010 12:10
Dean Baker should get credit for reading the Washington Post and grinding his teeth so we don't have to.
war spending does have one magic difference compared to other gov spending
written by anthrosciguy, October 31, 2010 12:52
In the USA war does have one magic power: conservatives agree with government spending for war.

Besides the moral emptiness of engaging in war to spur the economy, war has another failing compared to other government spending: much of the money is spent elsewhere than in the USA. Much better to take that war money and extend unemployment benefits, which are almost all spent in the USA, and quickly. Or health care, etc.; there are many ways to spend money in the USA, ways that don't involve killing people and making large parts of the world mad at us.
written by liberal, October 31, 2010 12:59
Ron Alley wrote,
David Broder once was a great columnist.

Huh? Broder has been an imbecile for decades now. Eric Alterman wrote a scathing indictment of him in the first edition of Sound and Fury: The Washington Punditocracy and the Collapse of American Politics. That was 1993. 17 years ago.

My impression reading Broder and reading his critics is that the only remaining question is whether the man is truly as idiotic as he seems, or whether he's an extremely stealthy cryto-right-winger.
written by rakesh, October 31, 2010 1:50
Richad Koo has suggested that one of the better ways to spend is on completely unproductive things to stimulate the economy. His thought was that defense is not a bad way to spend money on because it is totally unproductive.
written by Alan in SF, October 31, 2010 1:56
As idiotic and sociopathic as Broder is, this column perfectly summarizes the great bipartisant consensus, to which, alas, Obama and the Democrats subscribe as fully as the Broder and the Republicans.
written by Joe, October 31, 2010 3:08
Thanks Dean. It's refreshing to hear sanity every now and then to cleanse the palate.
Scott Ritter on Attacking Iran
written by John, October 31, 2010 4:10
I recommend Scott Ritter on the consequences of attacking Iran: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XQan1qo8T4
Let's start tonight!
written by Monger, October 31, 2010 4:13
By golly, why stop with Iran, Dave? Can you imagine how wars with N. Korea, Yemen, China, Russia, Mexico, etc., etc. etc., would perk up the old economy?
Hell, actually any country that looks at us crosswise would work, wouldn't it? Zero unemployment. Dow at 360,000.
...And it's not as if we elites would have to serve either. Those minorities and trailer court trash would do all the heavy lifting, yes?

It's win win. I don't see any down side at all.
The greatest threat
written by A, October 31, 2010 7:06
That a major newpaper which is seen as close to government circles publishes this (remember: was there anything Bush they didn't like?), makes the rest of the world fear that it is not that
"Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century," it is the U.S.
More so, if the Republicans are in power.
written by Mark, October 31, 2010 9:35
Aren't we the biggest spender of War toys in the world? And why does the war machine continue to push our country into debt? Take a deep breath, and say " I believe in the good of people. i believe that life is more important than power. I believe we can one day we can thank god and have peace at last, thank god almighty and have peace at last".
I hope he's volunteering
written by timmy, October 31, 2010 10:29
...or maybe a few family members
Broder's Time Machine
written by Paul, October 31, 2010 10:32
Just when I began to think that time travel was impossible, David Broder arrives in 2010 from the 19th century. How else do you explain his statement:
"[T]he business cycle, the tidal force that throughout history has dictated when the economy expands and when it contracts. Economists struggle to analyze this, but they almost inevitably conclude that it cannot be rushed and almost resists political command. As the saying goes, the market will go where it is going to go."

Obviously Broder has never heard of a guy named Keynes who was a 20th century economist of some repute.
written by Pepe, November 01, 2010 10:15
If war was good for the economy, why have 2 wars not helped our economy?

Military Keynsianism is a myth. Spending all that money on wars only helps certain sectors of the economy, and none of that trickles down to who needs the money. And prevents money from being spent where it is needed the most, so there is a double-whammy effect.

It is arguable that military spending helped the US (and only the US) during WW2. The draft kept us at full employment, and after the war, all our competitors' infrastructure was wiped out, so no competition.

The UK only recently paid off its WW2 debt. Yeah - war is good for the economy.
written by Brian, November 01, 2010 12:05
There should be a byline on entries like this. Took me a while to figure who wrote this first-person entry. Yeah, there's a bio, but a byline would be more clear.
written by Chip Steiner, November 01, 2010 6:38
All Broder is saying is that the only policy Obama can pursue to garner Republican support, and thereby ensure his own re-election is to start another war. That's an indictment of the Republicans. Broder, I bet, knows damn well Obama is neither so foolish nor so cynical, nor so power-hungry. Roosevelt's entry into WWII may have revived the U.S. economy but the circumstances then and now are completely different. Unlike Nazi Germany, Iran is neither evil (bombastic for sure), it hasn't invaded another country, it doesn't have the military and economic capacity of the Nazis, and so it isn't really a threat to world peace. Roosevelt had little choice. Obama certainly does.
written by Buzz, November 01, 2010 7:16
How long will it take a majority of Americans to realize they live in federal cuckoo land - literally run by criminals who are GOING TO RUN YOU OVER?

Take back your land by forcing your states to stand up to DC. -NULLIFICATION ! Bring the power back down a notch and closer to home where the people can see what's going on.

Otherwise, we're doomed.
written by DAVID YENNIOR, November 02, 2010 12:59
Broder's OpEd is shocking. Be sure to click on the link "quite explicitly suggested" which takes you to the Washington Post article.
This is his conclusion: "I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. 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."
Please let Mr Broder know directly what you think of his ideas:
written by boxer, November 02, 2010 5:14
Anyone notice the pres. is a sycophantic lapdog constantly bending rearward to please and appease the neo-fascists war mongers slightly to his right. He's outbushing the bushwacker in all that he does. There is nothing he won't do to be accepted as one of the good ole boys, so don't count him out to at least back Isreal with all the guns and money they would need to criminally attack Iran while he maintains plausible deniability. Amerika loves proxy wars.
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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.