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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7992/higgs-war-is-the-health-of-the-state-sickness-of-the-economy/

Higgs: War Is the Health of the State, Sickness of the Economy

April 3, 2008 by

In the newly announced Independent Institute blog, the Beacon, Robert Higgs has a wonderful piece on how war allows the state to grow, all at the expense of the free and productive economy (even if this is typically obscured by Fed trickery). Indeed, even non-”defense” spending skyrockets during war:

“[D]uring wartime many people increase their broad support for the government, and hence they are less inclined to challenge its actions even when those actions have little or nothing to do with the war. Hardly anyone was surprised that real defense spending (as measured in accordance with the government’s own narrow concept) increased by almost 60 percent between 2000 and 2007, while real GDP rose by only 18 percent. Note, however, that the government’s real nondefense outlays increased concurrently by more than 24 percent―an increase one-third greater than that of GDP. When people let down their guard because they ‘support the troops,’ they permit the government to make greater headway in its ceaseless quest to enlarge its spending in a wide range of areas, many of them strictly civilian in nature.”

Read the rest, and visit the blog, which features Robert Higgs along with bloggers Peter Klein, Jonathan Bean, David Beito, David Theroux, me and several others.

{ 1 comment }

nicholas gray April 6, 2008 at 3:06 am

Higgs is so right!
A lesson from Australian history taught me this. Canberra had been almost powerless before WW2, but then the war gave Canberra the excuse to claim a whole new round of taxes, for the war effort, you understand. After the war, these new taxes were not repealed. Indeed, the cold war gave Canberra plenty of excuses to keep expanding, and it shows no sign of slowing down! We have a milder version of the War on Drugs! There’s always a new cause if you want a new tax, but war is the best tax agent of all!!

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