The Economically Conscientious Objector

Sep 19, 2002
George Anderson

by George Anderson

The cover story (War Against Iraq: A Chilling Prospect for Economy, Retail)
in Tuesday’s edition of Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) began with the following lead
paragraph. “Retailers and luxury goods companies beware: if the lagging economy
and dour consumer confidence aren’t bad enough, the looming war with Iraq could
cast even more of a chill on sales during the next few months.” Many retailers,
according to the article, are nervous about the impact a war against Iraq would
have on the economy and their businesses.

Yesterday, Donald Rumsfield, the U.S. defense secretary, was on Capitol Hill asking Congress to authorize the use of military force against Iraq. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Rumsfield said, “No terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.” He added, “The goal isn’t inspections, the goal is disarmament.’

The public declarations of the Bush administration make a war against Iraq sound inevitable. Depending on what happens with the resumption of U.N. inspections, war may even be morally justified.

Since the September 11, 2001 atrocity, our country has been at war. Al Qaeda didn’t give us any other choice and that organization’s obliteration can not come too soon. President Bush is to be applauded for his leadership here.

There is another area where American needs Mr. Bush’s leadership. That is on the economic front and we, regrettably, have to break ranks with the administration here on the grounds of being an economically conscientious objector.

Mr. Bush came to office and pushed through a tax cut package that many hoped would spur an economy recovery. Some credit it with softening the fall we’ve taken. It may very well have. We do not know.

What we do know is that no previous government has ever cut taxes during a time of war. There’s good reason for this. Money is needed to help pay off expenses associated with waging war.

If we are at war, forget the supply-side economics. That way the economy will still be strong long after Osama and Saddam are gone.

Moderator’s Comment: What economic impact will a war
against Iraq have on American consumers and retailing? Should the Bush administration
forego tax cuts while the country continues its fight against terrorism? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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