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[casi] FW: Anti-war statement by 100 U.S. economists

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The following statement was released yesterday and signed by  over 100 U.S.
economists, including seven Nobel laureates.  Full text and signatures
available at <> .  The statement has been
distributed to Congress.

Statement by U. S. Economists on Iraq (March 4, 2003)
Sponsoring Organization -- Economists Allied for Arms Reductions

As American economists, we oppose unilateral initiatives for war against
Iraq, which we see as unnecessary and detrimental to the security and the
economy of the United States and the entire world community.

If war would serve to counter a clear threat to the country, the economic
consequences would be secondary. But we question whether war would serve
security and not increase the risk of future instability and terrorism. We
see the immediate human tragedy and devastation of war as clear; and we see
as well serious potential economic harm to our nation and to the world.

Given the precarious state of our own economy, America requires the
attention and focus of leadership and resources to address economic problems
at home. Instead, leadership and resources are being diverted to an
unnecessary and costly war.  As UN Chief Inspector Hans Blix points out, the
objective of containment is being achieved now, by 250 inspectors at a cost
of $80 million per year, in contrast to a force of some 150,000 soldiers and
at least $100 billion for war.

No administration can credibly promise to solve all problems simultaneously,
and as a result of our administration's comparative neglect, the American
economy suffers the following serious problems:

First, private business investment in the United States has not yet started
to recover in most areas.  Lack of new investment means lack of jobs. The
prospect of war threatens America's financial, energy and other markets.
And the larger commitment of the administration to the military will impede,
not advance, the recovery of the technology sector, by drawing resources
away from civilian applications.

Second, there is a recent and troubling slowdown in consumer spending, which
has been supporting the slow recovery. American households are highly
indebted.  Only low interest rates, continuing demand in the housing sector,
moderate oil prices and cheap imports have kept the consumer going. We fear
that war may significantly drive up interest rates and oil prices. If indeed
this is so, or if the ongoing decline in the dollar goes too far, the effect
could be to unleash a major consumer retrenchment in the United States,
overwhelming the added government military spending.

Third, state and local government budgets continue to suffer. These budget
shortfalls are translating into service cuts and tax increases. Either way,
household budgets will take a serious hit. The war fever in Washington is
blocking efforts for revenue sharing with the states, which is a major way
the federal government could prevent a state and local calamity, and it is
blocking adequate support efforts for homeland security. Nor can we hope, in
such a climate, to address our continuing and larger problems of health
care, education, unemployment, and poverty, all of which remain urgent
concerns here at home.

During the 1990's America enjoyed strong economic growth, strong financial
markets and unprecedented job expansion.  We believe a contributor to that
growth was the "peace dividend" following the end of the cold war.
Unfortunately, in place of a "peace dividend," today we are being offered a
"war surcharge," which will be further aggravated by the effect of a war on
the price of oil, especially if it results in destabilizing Saudi Arabia.

The current policy of sponsoring a new war in the Middle East plays "Russian
roulette" with our economy.  Instead, our leaders should focus on restoring
our economy and stimulating job growth.  The American people cannot afford
to tolerate a mismanaged economy or a na´ve underestimation of America's
economic perils.

We ask economists, business leaders and all Americans to join us in
opposition to the decision to go to war and instead to support a return to a
policy that pays adequate attention to the needs of our economy.  We do not
believe that this war is necessary to the national security of the United
States.  A sound economy is necessary to the security of the United States
and to peaceful world economic development.

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