Vital Signs

Never-Ending War: An Economic Policy

Contrary to the assertion of official historians, April 1865, which saw the fall of the Confederate States of America, was not the month in which the “Union” was saved or a “nation” was forged.  It was the month that saw the transformation of the republic into an oligarchy, and the expansion of government subsidies into military Keynesianism.  War, as the Founding Fathers warned, was the midwife.

The late Chalmers Johnson defined military Keynesianism as

the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy.  The opposite is actually true.

Such a policy, directly or indirectly, enriches select politicians and businesses.

Lincoln employed the war of 1861-65 to increase the tariff and restore the repudiated system of internal improvements.  Both endeavors transferred public money to private companies with political connections under a pretext of national security.  The tariff was declared necessary to ensure political independence by securing economic independence for the United States from foreign suppliers, in particular the British.  Internal improvements—the building of roads, railroads, turnpikes, ports, and canals by private firms with public funds—were...

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