David Broder Wants a Disastrous War with Iran to Boost the U.S. Economy
Even by the perverse standards set by the opinion-shapers in the editorial pages of the Washington Post, David Broder’s offering today stands out as a unique blend of moral depravity and intellectual laziness.
I know that Democrats have fallen into a peck of trouble and may lose control of Congress. But even if they do, Obama can still storm back to win a second term in 2012. He is that much better than the competition.
But if Obama cannot spur that growth by 2012, he is unlikely to be reelected. The lingering effects of the recession that accompanied him to the White House will probably doom him.
Can Obama harness the forces that might spur new growth? This is the key question for the next two years.
Broder then offers us a choice of two avenues by which the economy can grow. The first is just sitting back and waiting for the “business cycle” to turn.
In this regard, Obama has no advantage over any other pol. Even in analyzing the tidal force [of the market] 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.
So, what’s David Broder’s prescription for saving America?
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.
I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected.
No, of course not. Perish the thought. You’re suggesting that the U.S. push for a deadly conflict guaranteed to destabilize the Middle East further and put U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in grave danger in order to stimulate the economy, with the extra beneficial effect of getting Obama re-elected. What a grand plan!
What’s striking is that the Dean of the Beltway Press Corps’ suggestion isn’t just obscene in its implcations, it’s also economically illiterate.
Dean Baker teed up on that point this morning:
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).
The nice thing about the non-military Keynesian approach is that unlike attacking Iran, it wouldn’t send fuel prices into an economy-killing upward spiral.
But I think it’s possible Broder knows all of this. His argument may simply be a tacit admission that Broder’s beloved political system is broken, that Washington is incapable of addressing the economic pain millions of Americans are suffering by enacting thoughtful domestic policies.
It seems obvious that with millions out of work, consumer demand flat and a 19-century infrastructure we should be putting people to work fixing things. But our political class can’t agree that the sky is up and the earth is down, so the only viable option Broder can see for getting more stimulus spending is to blow up some brown people.