War Is an Economic Policy, Senator McCain

This morning I received a request to sign an “Economists’ Statement in Support of John McCain’s Economic Plan.” The statement laid out his plans to prevent taxes from rising, to reduce some taxes, such as the corporate income tax, to support free trade agreements, and to restrain the growth of domestic government spending. Notice something missing? I did.

Here’s the answer I sent to the co-chair, economist James Carter:

There’s nothing in there I disagree with. [I later found a few things but I agreed with the vast majority.] The problem is that it leaves out a huge part of his economic policy that will make it virtually impossible to achieve what’s in the statement. That huge part is his policy on war–with Iraq and maybe with Iran. War is very expensive and is part of an economic policy. So by signing the statement, I would be helping Senator McCain maintain the fiction that there’s no connection between war and economic policy. I’m unwilling to do that.