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You can’t have your war and eat it, too
by Andrew Barbano
Jun 26, 2011 | 636 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“No country has suffered so much from the ruins of war while being at peace as the American.” - U.S. Author and Critic Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977)

War is the single worst thing you can do to your economy. The myth of magic war bucks started after World War II. How often have you heard that the big slaughter finally pulled us out of the Great Depression?

You can make a pretty good argument that the excess industrial capacity of the United States doomed the bad guys to defeat, but by 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt had long been implementing the economic recovery tools that would later make Briton John Maynard Keynes a household name.

Keynesian economics is a simple concept: governments must pump money into the system during times of contraction. Call it a kick-start. Call it priming the pump. It works pretty well for everyone except moon-howlers who barf and snarl at anything resembling a government solution to a problem.

Regular readers of this column have often seen me quote conservative Republican economist Pierre Rinfret (1924-2006). He committed heresy during the Vietnam War by challenging the orthodoxy that war spending constitutes sound economic policy.

“Rinfret believes we have come quietly to an economic pivot point ... We have at last broken ... the ancient bond between war and prosperity,” Look Magazine reported on May 31, 1966.

“War is bearish. Peace is bullish,” Rinfret insisted.

“War, once a shot in the arm to lagging business, now throws a shock into a smoothly functioning system set for peak long-term growth,” wrote Look Senior Editor T. George Harris in a Rinfret interview.

“To compound the shock, war also wastes resources, human and material, that would otherwise flow back each year to expand the economy and, through it, better the lives of men,” the article stated.

“In practical terms, wealth invested in war goods might as well be sunk in the ocean,” Rinfret said. “Tanks and fighters do not produce new wealth. Teachers and factories do. Peace is the environment in which the flower of free enterprise grows, flourishes and bears fruit. Peace is now the stable ground of prosperity.”

The military-industrial complex was not about to let such thinking hurt its fat profits. Corporate America fielded tanks – think tanks – to sell the idea that less government is more. They even besmirched the name of President John F. Kennedy in proselytizing the recurrent religion that tax cuts bring economic heaven on earth.

If that were true, we should all be rolling in holy gold today. We’ve got three wars, Bush the Lesser’s hemorrhagic tax cuts have been extended and the fat cats are happy.

Marking Amodei

Former State Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Moonhowlers, urgently needs to see a veterinarian and get checked for Sen. Dean Heller’s bitemarks on his arse.

Like Heller, Amodei used to be a pretty level headed state lawmaker. Now that he’s running for congress, he’s living in the past like the rest of the retro-modern GOP.

With Osama dead, the fear mongers apparently need new bogeymen, not that the white sheet sympathizers don’t have enough to motivate them.

With all the toxic fact-manufacturing that Fox News and Lush Rambo can exude, it’s rather disappointing that Amodei can do no better than a 1950s-vintage red scare. Somewhere down in the seventh circle Joe McCarthy burns with pride.

Amodei is now running a TV spot justifying his opposition to an increase in the national debt ceiling by threatening that it will lead to Red China invading Washington.

Amodei may be a good propagandist and fear monger, but he’s a dreadful economist. No nation makes war on its best credit customer.

Lawyer Amodei is also a dunce when it comes to constitutional law. A default on our national debt happens to be unconstitutional: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties or services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” (Amendment XIV, Section 4).

Memories of Maria

A memorial service for Mary Valencia Wilson will be held in Sparks at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 7, at American Legion Duby Reid Post No. 30, 730 4th Street. That’s next door to the Sparks post office, across from city hall. The great Nevada civil, human and labor rights leader died earlier this month at age 66. Any of Mary’s many friends who would like to volunteer to help with the event should contact her sister, Joan Treptow, at 560-0318.

Mary would picket this guy

Nevada Gov. Brian the Brutal has vetoed Assembly Bill 137 which “would have required some schools to provide free breakfast to low-income students,” according to Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun.

“Democrats decried the veto, saying the legislation would have brought more than $40 million in federal money to the state. Sandoval, however, said the decision about which schools should provide the nutrition program is better left to the school districts.”

That decision should be easy. Without any money, they can’t provide food at all.

Morally obtuse El Bruté strikes again.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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