Econ%20104%20Syllabus--Pollin--Fall%20-page78 - health care...

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134 • New Labor Forum R. Pollin By Robert Pollin New Labor Forum 17(1): 134–137, Spring 2008 Copyright © Joseph S. Murphy Institute, CUNY ISSN: 1095-7960/08 print DOI:10.1080/1095760701834407 ECONOMIC PROSPECTS Why Militarism Hurts the U.S. Economy There is no longer any doubt that the Iraq war is a moral and strategic disaster. But is it possible that the Iraq war—which has been the driving force for a huge expansion in the U.S. military budget under the Bush-II administration—has also brought major benefits to the U.S. economy, including money to support millions of decent jobs and advances in impor- tant technologies? In my Fall 2007 New Labor Forum article, I argued that the U.S. economy could generate roughly one million new jobs if we took all $140 billion out of the Iraq war budget as well as re- scinded $60 billion of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, and transferred this $200 billion total into
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Unformatted text preview: health care, education, and energy conserva-tion. But a frequent concern that raises doubts about the realism of such military conversion proposals is the undeniable fact that, at present, the military budget is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. The Pentagon is a major underwriter of important technical innovations as well as a major employer. It provides good jobs—jobs that are stable and at least decently paid—to millions of Americans. Moreover, there have been important cases where war mobilization and spending have gen-erated powerful boosts to the economy. The classic case is World War II. The massive surge in military spending that followed President Roosevelt’s declaration of war after the Decem-ber 1941 Pearl Harbor attack indisputably brought the United States out of the 1930s De-...
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