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Bombers or Homes ?

on Monday, 01 March 1954. Posted in Statistics, War

President Eisenhower, addressing the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 16th, 1953, said:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies — in the final sense — a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

"A world in arms is not spending money alone, it is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

“The cost of one bomber is this: a modern brick school in each of more than 30 cities. It is: two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is: two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete highway.

“We pay for a single fighter plane with 500,000 bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”

Very well. But this theft continues, Mr. President. And a point which you might have stressed is the fact that dollars are always found for bombers, fighter planes, destroyers. Never has a program of war production been rejected or even delayed just for a lack of money. Only shortage of men or material may have interfered. While concrete highways, hospitals and homes are waiting, not for want of builders or materials, but just for lack of money.

Why so? Why is money available as fast as required for war purposes? And why is money scarce or hard to obtain for production answering human wants?

Mr. Graham Towers, Governor of the Bank of Canada, told a Canadian Mission at the outset of the last war:

"The task of finance in war is to see that nothing is decided on financial grounds, that what is desirable and physically possible is always financially possible. And why is it the reverse in peace? Why must things then be decided on financial grounds? Why change the rule? Why are programs of peace production dismissed as financially impossible, when they are both desirable and physically possible?

Why must finance submit to the community only in time of war, while the community has to submit to finance in time of peace?

Why is money power with us when we are engaged in killing and destroying? And why does the same money power raise difficulties when we turn to building activities?

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