David Broder is in his 80s. His columns have been pretty much irrelevant to both Right and Left for quite some time. But today he came up with a grand plan to unite the country and boost the economy: War with Iran.
What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.
Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. 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. 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.
Someone at the Washington Post should have nixed this column before it came out to embarrass Broder and the paper. But maybe WaPo is beyond embarrassing these days.
And, one more time, war does not improve the economy. Big government spending programs to build munitions, ships, plans, and other war stuff improve the economy. Or, we could skip the war and just have big government spending programs building infrastructure, schools, and other stuff. Dean Baker writes,
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 phsyical infrastructure and improve the skills and education of our workers or we can go kill Iranians. Broder has made it clear where he stands.
Paul Krugman provides a brief snark. Writing for Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt writes, “I haven’t read such an ill informed and morally bankrupt piece of “analysis” in quite some time (which is saying something).” Blake Hounshell asks, “Has David Broder lost his mind?” And Marc Lynch provides an analysis that argues “Broder’s column is an interesting study in how really dumb ideas bounce around Washington D.C.”
I’ve long thought Broder was overrated as a columnist, but in light of his reputation and stature, I think the Washington Post would be doing him a great kindness to insist he retire soon. Like last week.
In other media news, Andrew Breitbart has struck again with another contrived “caught on tape” accusation. This one is on behalf of Lost Cause Joe Miller, who is about to be defeated in the Alaska senatorial race by either the Democrat or a write-in Republican.
Breitbart claims reporters from an Alaska CBS affiliate somehow accidentally left a message in Joe Miller’s voicemail in which they are plotting against the Miller campaign. Yeah, right. Like anyone needs to plot against the Miller campaign at this point.