Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

BOMB, BOMB, BOMB IRAN….Nils Gilman reminds me of a recent Heritage Foundation study that I forgot to blog about. Basically, Heritage decided to model the economic effects of bombing Iran and concluded that those effects would be bad (oil prices up, GDP down, employment down, recession in the offing, etc.). However, since Heritage is institutionally committed to insane hawkery, they reran their model with a few changes and discovered that the results weren’t so bad after all. In fact, bombing Iran might even be good for the economy!

Now, my first thought when I read this was: holy hell. Out of all the possible things they could spend their time doing, they decided to expend a substantial effort on torturing the data to come up with some plausible way of claiming that bombing Iran would be just peachy as far as the U.S. economy is concerned. Wow. That’s dedication to the cause.

But it gets even better. Guess what policy actions we need to take in order to turn bombing Iran from a net negative to a net positive? You guessed it: policy actions that the Heritage Foundation prefers in the first place. Fund the military! Ease regulatory burdens! End tariffs on ethanol! Don’t raise gasoline taxes! Approve drilling in ANWR! “The results were impressive,” the Heritage folks tell us, beaming with pride. “The policy recommendations eliminated virtually all of the negative outcomes from the blockade.” Nils comments: “Actually, the thing I found most surprising about the scenario was that these guys didn’t seem to realize that another obvious consequence of bombing [Iran] is that it will require an abolition of the capital gains tax to tide us through the emergency.”

The serious side to this, of course, is that Heritage now has this study sitting on their shelf just waiting for the next time Iran hawkery is again in the news. And when someone says that, among other things, it would be economically devastating, they’ll be able to very soberly claim that a sophisticated economic model says we have nothing to worry about — as long as we do all the things Heritage says we ought to do. And sane people almost certainly won’t have a comparable piece of claptrap to fight back with. Ugh.