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Thread: War, Economy and Patriotism

  1. #1

    War, Economy and Patriotism

    There was some tool of a right-wing apologist on the radio on my way to work tonight complaining about Obama’s stimulus package.
    I have no problem with conservatives themselves, mind you – just apologists in general, whether they are liberal, conservative, religious, scientific or any other flavor.

    This moron asked, “When has government spending EVER improved the economy?”
    Now, regardless how you feel about the details of this specific package, you would have to be a liar, or completely ignorant to state that history does not show that government spending improves the economy.
    Being that this guy was a right-wing apologist, my assumption is that he is a liar.
    Why? Because it has been a tag-line for conservatives pretty much forever, in justification of war, that war is good for the economy.
    Apparently this guy has never heard of perhaps the most successful government-funded economic stimulation in recent history – World War II.
    That’s what gets me about these conservative apologists… They have no problem spending government money at all, but rather than having improved infrastructure as a result, they’d rather spend it on wars.
    I do not consider myself a pacifist, but I do believe that the only just war is a defensive war. That’s really beside the point, however.
    This got me thinking …
    World War II thrust us into decades of economic prosperity.
    It seems that war in general, has always been good for the economy – especially since war has been mechanized and industrialized. That is, right up until about Viet Nam.
    Why is that?
    I thought about the differences between WWII and the latest Iraq disaster.
    WWII boosted the economy and Iraq dragged it down.
    Why?
    The concept of government spending to boost the economy is fairly simple, especially the war model.
    You create government contracts, companies get those contracts – which helps them, and they must hire people.
    The more middle class people you have spending money, the better still the businesses do.
    While the government went into debt to finance the war, it is the people and businesses who reap the benefits and get that money.
    The government is US. Tax money is OUR money. Complaining that the government is spending money on US is ludicrous – what else should they spend our money on?
    Furthermore, the better people do, the less the government has to spend on social programs AND they recoup their losses through sales tax on all that crap people can afford to buy now, and the more they buy, the better businesses do and the more they hire.
    It’s an upward spiral.
    So why did Iraq break the bank and NOT stimulate the economy?
    The people didn’t get nearly as many jobs and the businesses that had the politicians in their pockets did it cheaper by out-sourcing, importing and manufacturing overseas.
    The executives of the companies got rich, but little of the billions in tax dollars spent to fund the “war” got back into the pockets of the people who own the purse – Americans.
    Now I keep hearing right-wing apologists argue that the “buy American” clause in the new stimulus package is a bad thing because we would do better off getting the materials cheaper from foreign companies.
    That is simply moronic.
    Government spending will always boost the economy when that money is spent to help Americans.
    It is OUR money.
    To take that money and get cheaper products overseas and to outsource labor defeats the whole purpose of government spending.
    If you import and out-source, rather than buy local, you send your money overseas rather than use it to bolster the economy by benefitting Americans.
    It’s not about getting a new bridge for cheaper, it’s about getting more people to work and getting more money in the pockets of the working class.
    It’s not that difficult a concept, really.
    If your town has to build a bridge, either they can take YOUR tax dollars and hire people and companies from your town to build it – thus helping members of the town and bolstering the local economy – or they can hire an outside company and siphon that money OUT of the town.
    What’s funny is that I remember when I was a kid, so many on the right lambasted people on the left for not buying American products. You would NEVER see a Republican driving a foreign car.
    Democrats were accused of not being patriotic because they spent their money on foreign goods to save money.
    I agree with them.
    The more you spend in your community, the better your community does – and that concept carries out in concentric circles.
    Now it seems there has been a complete turn-around and the left is being lambasted for all the “Go Local” campaigns.
    I heard someone say the other day that community service is a Socialist ideal.
    Community service is the very core of patriotism in my book, and used to be in the Republican book as well.
    This is part of why, while I consider myself more of a Republican in political views, I have distanced myself from the party and do not think there has been a Republican President since Ike.
    I am disgusted with what has happened to the party since the “New Conservative” movement started.
    Patriotism used to be about caring for others in your community and country. Wanting them to be prosperous, because that benefits us all. Serving your community and supporting it. Now it seems so-called patriotism is a blunt weapon with no real meaning, used to bludgeon liberals.
    It’s foul.
    Last edited by one_raven; 02-05-09 at 02:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    The people didn’t get nearly as many jobs and the businesses that had the politicians in their pockets did it cheaper by out-sourcing, importing and manufacturing overseas.


    And there's the crux of the problem right there.

  3. #3
    On the subject of patriotism , I find it interesting how many self proclaimed patriots from the right claim to love America - but seem to hate Americans.

    Fairly typical of the far right - they beleive in very abstract ideals (God and country, Family Values, Freedom of the individual etc etc) but seem to lack amny meaningful or constructive way of applying these into real world values

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by synthesizer-patel View Post
    Fairly typical of the far right - they beleive in very abstract ideals (God and country, Family Values, Freedom of the individual etc etc) but seem to lack amny meaningful or constructive way of applying these into real world values
    That's because those ideals are all a sham, to make the rich richer. How else can you explain millions of middle-class voters voting to make their own lives worse by giving giant tax cuts to the rich? That's just one of many examples of how Republicans are gullible pawns.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by synthesizer-patel View Post
    On the subject of patriotism , I find it interesting how many self proclaimed patriots from the right claim to love America - but seem to hate Americans.

    Fairly typical of the far right - they beleive in very abstract ideals (God and country, Family Values, Freedom of the individual etc etc) but seem to lack amny meaningful or constructive way of applying these into real world values
    It's because many fail to see that enforcement of the prior two is a direct violation of the latter... and I'm not sure why that cognitive dissonance exists. It's the same dissonance that exists when comparing/contrasting expanding government and expanding the military, and support for individuals while supporting massive intervention in all levels of society.

    The limited government, fiscally responsible, respect for individual ideal of the Republican Party is what appeals to me most, everything else not so much. And unfortunately it's that everything else that'll keep the party from ever being able to truly govern in a conservative manner.

  6. #6
    one_raven: What I hate about the way certain politicians and media figures have, for the past few decades, taken over conservative talking points is that it ends up discrediting conservative ideals without good reason. ie. Bush managing the feat of completely discrediting the idea of a free market system without every practicing free market principles. I hope you can see that these people aren't the ones you should be turning to for actual conservative views, and that there are legitimate arguments against government spending and stimulus, and arguments as to why it wasn't WWII that got us out of the Depression. You'll find that those making these legitimate arguments manage to avoid the cognitive dissonance I mentioned earlier, and criticize war spending of all stripes.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ashura View Post
    It's because many fail to see that enforcement of the prior two is a direct violation of the latter... and I'm not sure why that cognitive dissonance exists.
    Very good point Ash - but I'd suggest it can go even further - that many righties pay lip service to these things, but in fact don't even know what they are or what they mean.

    I'll not post a link to the thread because I don't think its fair on the parties involved, however there was an excellent example on these boards fairly recently, when one of the usual extreme rightwing loonies gave another boarder a hard time for choosing to stay with his family for certain personal reasons.
    Ironically said rightie has claimed on several occasions to support family values - yet it would appear that when presented with someone else who has them and actually expresses them as part of his lifestyle, he is unable to spot that fact.

    I think its because most right wingers are in fact secretly very submissive - they are attracted to powerful and comforting sounding ideas from powerful and charismatic authoritarians, and as submissives they instinctively want to be protected by, and be submissive to them, but at the same time are given a vocabulary that allows them to project a tough macho self reliant facade to hide their submissive tendencies.
    Look at the behaviour of the less intelligent righties on this board within this context and you'll see exactly what I mean.

  8. #8
    Valued Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashura
    Bush managing the feat of completely discrediting the idea of a free market system without every practicing free market principles.
    But W&Co did practice free market principles as expounded by the self-described advocates of free markets: the deregulation of the derivatives and banking industry was explicitly according to free market principles, for example, as was the attempted privatization of everything possible.

    The discrediting of the free market created in mortgage-backed derivatives, in consequence, was completely legit - it was a classic example of a free market left to fend for itself as far as enforcing rules and defending from pirates and cheats.

    The difficulty is that free market advocates have forgotten about the existence of a real world, in which industrial scale free markets are delicate and sophisticated sociopolitical arrangements in need of constant regulation and defense by a competent government. They are a kind of game, in which failure to enforce the rules leads to breakdown of the entire operation.

    Modern "conservatives" don't seem to understand this.

  9. #9
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Outsourcing for cheaper labour and production costs is free market, isn't it?

  10. #10
    Mourning in America madanthonywayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one_raven View Post
    Apparently this guy has never heard of perhaps the most successful government-funded economic stimulation in recent history – World War II.

    World War II thrust us into decades of economic prosperity.
    It seems that war in general, has always been good for the economy – especially since war has been mechanized and industrialized. That is, right up until about Viet Nam.
    Why is that?
    The answer is simple. It wasn't just government spending that helped the American economy. Increased government spending only improves the economy for a short time (as long as the spending continues). The reason that WW2 set us up for decades of economic dominance is that WW2 pretty much destroyed the rest of the civilized world while leaving the US unscathed. Our industrial might was not only untouched by the war, it was pumped up by it whereas the rest of the world was smoking ruins. Of course we were in a great position to dominate world markets!

    In Vietnam, Iraq, etc there was no such general destruction of the rest of the world. So all we had was a normal, temporary bump to the economy from increased war expenditures and a huge debt. That's all government spending can do. It creates a temporary bump. To get the kind of bang we got following WW2, we'd need another world war that would, like WW2, destroy the competition while leaving the US unscathed.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Outsourcing for cheaper labour and production costs is free market, isn't it?
    That depends on why they're cheaper; or to put it another way, how you are (governmentally, of course) defining your market.

  12. #12
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    To get the kind of bang we got following WW2, we'd need another world war that would, like WW2, destroy the competition while leaving the US unscathed.
    The answer to every gun toting rednecks dream.

    So will there be a buildup to a world war to "save" America now?

  13. #13
    Mourning in America madanthonywayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    The answer to every gun toting rednecks dream.

    So will there be a buildup to a world war to "save" America now?
    I certainly wasn't advocating world war to improve the economy, I was just explaining the post WW2 economic boom.

  14. #14
    Registered Senior Member Buffalo Roam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    The answer to every gun toting rednecks dream.

    So will there be a buildup to a world war to "save" America now?
    SAM, are you really that obtuse?

    No, You don't have to answer, we already know the answer.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    The answer is simple. It wasn't just government spending that helped the American economy. Increased government spending only improves the economy for a short time (as long as the spending continues). The reason that WW2 set us up for decades of economic dominance is that WW2 pretty much destroyed the rest of the civilized world while leaving the US unscathed. Our industrial might was not only untouched by the war, it was pumped up by it whereas the rest of the world was smoking ruins. Of course we were in a great position to dominate world markets!
    I have to disagree.

    We spent a fortune helping other counties rebuild from the devastation.
    Where did that money come from? Taxes.
    Where did a lot of it go? American industries.
    The build up in our technical and industrial prowess benefitted us much more than other countries being devastated.
    While us being relatively unharmed during the war was a great benefit, the direct beneficiaries of this build up of our industrial infrastructure was the American people, and the results of that had effects that far outlived reconstruction.

    Regardless, any stimulus plan is not intended for long term growth and lasting results. It is a temporary fix that has undeniable effects on the economy.
    Government spending DOES improve the economy - if the beneficiaries of that spending are the people and industry of that country.
    If the American government creates jobs that will put money in the pockets of the American people it WILL create an economic boom that will allow us to address the underlying problems which caused the slump in the first place.
    It's a stop-gap measure.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ashura View Post
    I hope you can see that these people aren't the ones you should be turning to for actual conservative views, and that there are legitimate arguments against government spending and stimulus, and arguments as to why it wasn't WWII that got us out of the Depression.
    Yes.
    Of course.

    That is the whole problem.
    The morons who run the Republican party have no idea what the basis of the party ideals are and believe in nothing but increasing and holding onto their own power.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by one_raven View Post
    ... and believe in nothing but increasing and holding onto their own power.
    Not trying to derail your point but that could apply to most political parties.

  18. #18
    Mourning in America madanthonywayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one_raven View Post
    I have to disagree.
    My theory answers your question regarding why after WW2 the US economy boomed, whereas after Vietnam and Iraq it tanked despite massive government spending in each case. How do you account for the difference in outcomes following these various wars?

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    But W&Co did practice free market principles as expounded by the self-described advocates of free markets: the deregulation of the derivatives and banking industry was explicitly according to free market principles, for example, as was the attempted privatization of everything possible.

    The discrediting of the free market created in mortgage-backed derivatives, in consequence, was completely legit - it was a classic example of a free market left to fend for itself as far as enforcing rules and defending from pirates and cheats.

    The difficulty is that free market advocates have forgotten about the existence of a real world, in which industrial scale free markets are delicate and sophisticated sociopolitical arrangements in need of constant regulation and defense by a competent government. They are a kind of game, in which failure to enforce the rules leads to breakdown of the entire operation.

    Modern "conservatives" don't seem to understand this.
    Privatizing everything while at the same time socializing risks is not a free market principle. Neither is having a central planner in Washington adjust interest rates and money supply in order to create a preferred economic outcome. In no way is the current situation an example of the free market left to fend for itself since the very foundation of the current situation is from government interference. Ron Paul, who is undoubtedly a believer in free markets, pointed these things out as far back as 1999 when he voted against Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Read the entirety of his statement, clearly it's not this conservative free market advocate, and others like him, that have forgotten about the "existence of the real world".

    But I fear your (incorrect) version of how things played out, and the role of the free market in it, will remain the mainstream view.
    New Rule: neomercantilists, neoconservatives, and statists are no longer allowed to call themselves "free marketers." People who call themselves free marketers such as Bush, Paulson, Greenspan, and Bernanke are the primary threat capitalism faces. These false prophets of capitalism are the greatest friends that proponents of socialism have.

    Many prominent American figures claim to be proponents of free markets but in practice advocate neomercantilist, corporate welfare policies. These policies eventually, and unsurprisingly, lead to disastrous economic and social consequences. These catastrophes are then blamed on capitalism, free markets, and deregulation, at which point, socialists are easily able to convince the distraught public that capitalism is a failed experiment and only massive government intervention in the markets can save them. Such is the way that capitalism dies, eaten away by a cancer from within.

    The real mystery is not that some of the loudest proponents of free markets often institute policies that are antithetical to free markets, but that the general public, as well as learned scholars, rarely challenge these claims. In general, the public simply accepts that if a person claims to believe in capitalism and private-property rights then they are truly capitalists. In truth, most politicians who claim to be champions of free-market principles are anything but.
    http://mises.org/story/3306

  20. #20
    OIF Veteran 2003-2011 Thoreau's Avatar
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    Just a heads up, I have a really well-written essay that I will post tonight regarding these exact topics. It's very long but well worth the read.

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