By Dave Lindorff
War spending does little for the economy in the short or long term
When you are the New York Times, or in this case, one of the only real liberal columnists working for the Times anymore, there are apparently some things you just cannot mention.
How else to explain how a seemingly intelligent economist like Paul Krugman can scorch the Republicans in Congress and President Obama for failing to deal with the crisis of joblessness and deepening economic collapse in the U.S., but never once mention the endless and pointless wars into which the country is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars a year?
"I don't mean to dismiss concerns about the long-run U.S. budget picture. If you look at fiscal prospects over, say, the next 20 years, they are indeed deeply worrying, largely because of rising healthcare costs. But the experience of the past two years has overwhelmingly confirmed what some of us tried to argue from the beginning: The deficits we're running right now--deficits we should be running, because deficit spending helps support a depressed economy -- are no threat at all."
What planet is Prof. Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, living on?
The U.S. has over the past decade spent some two trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the so-called "War" on Terror. The actual spending has been much higher (as the honest Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz has explained), because only about 50% of the U.S. budget each year, including expenditures for "intelligence" and the military, is covered by tax collections from individuals, corporations, import duties and other federal fees and collections. The rest is financed with borrowed money, all of which has to be repaid in later years with interest. This country has spent another $5 trillion or so on the bloated military budget over the last decade, to finance a military complex that costs as much as the rest of the world combined spends on war and preparing for war. And again, only half of that amount was actual tax revenues. The rest has to be paid back over coming years with interest, because it's all been borrowed.
Hey Krugman! Why don't you tell people the real reason why the U.S. has a "deeply worrying" fiscal problem looming over the next couple of decades? Isn't it really because we've got to pay for all these wars and all the militarism that we've been buying on credit? Be honest. It's not future health care spending that's the problem. It's current and future military spending.