Mr. Broder's war and economic myths

Wednesday, November 3, 2010; 5:51 PM

In his Oct. 31 op-ed, "The war recovery?," David S. Broder piled error on error to reach a ghoulish conclusion.

Item: Economists do not "inevitably conclude" that the "business cycle cannot be rushed." The issue is disputed; indeed, Mr. Broder himself credits the stimulus package with having "put the brakes on the runaway decline."

Item: At the time, the phrase "Great Depression" applied to the years 1929-33. By 1936, the United States had experienced rapid growth for four years; unemployment (once you count those working for the New Deal) had fallen from 25 to below 10 percent; and FDR was reelected, carrying all but two states. World War II remained years away.

Item: Preparations for war on Iran would not resemble those for World War II. They would roughly resemble those for the war on Iraq, whose effect on economic growth was exhausted by 2004.

Any suggestion that President Obama turn to war to boost the economy is obscene, and it leaves one to wonder: Did Mr. Broder write this for Halloween - or April Fools' Day?

James K. Galbraith, Austin

The writer is chairman of Economists for Peace and Security.

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I was baffled by David S. Broder's Oct. 31 column. The United States is already mired in two wars, yet the economy is sputtering and the president is unpopular. If public opinion polls are to be believed, what support remains for the president comes despite his escalation in Afghanistan, not because of it. So why does Mr. Broder think opening a third front would be economically helpful or politically expedient? And even if it were, how dare he suggest these are good reasons to risk thousands of lives?

Brenton Kenkel, Rochester, N.Y.


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