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Smackdown Behind Defense Hawks' Budget Hysterics Win McNamee / Getty Images

Behind Defense Hawks' Budget Hysterics

Watch out when defense hawks get hysterical about how much military cuts could hurt the economy. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls them “weaponized Keynesians”—politicians who seem to believe only war spending, and not building bridges and roads, stimulates the economy. Keynes himself explained this preference for wasteful spending over constructive spending: spending on tangible projects often invokes business principles, while no one expects weapons and warfare to be a good business deal. But the real motive behind this double standard is politics: “To admit that public spending on useful projects can create jobs is to admit that such spending can in fact do good, that sometimes government is the solution, not the problem.”

October 31, 2011 10:31 AM