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How States Pay for Wars$
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Rosella Capella Zielinski

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702495

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702495.001.0001

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Johnson and the Vietnam War

Johnson and the Vietnam War

Chapter:
(p.47) 3 Johnson and the Vietnam War
Source:
How States Pay for Wars
Author(s):

Rosella Cappella Zielinski

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501702495.003.0004

This chapter argues that, in contrast to the Korean War, differing inflation fears and public support for the Vietnam War explain the variation in outcome. Similar to President Truman, President Johnson could have paid for a larger percentage of the war with taxes, potentially avoiding some negative consequences. However, Johnson chose to rely on domestic debt for the early years of the war. He did not want to relinquish his Great Society, for unlike Truman, Johnson did not fear inflation. He believed that the U.S. economy could absorb a large increase in government spending without raising taxes to pay for it. Consequently, Johnson believed he could fund both programs simultaneously, without economic detriment.

Keywords:   Vietnam War, Vietnam War finance, taxes, domestic debt, inflation, Lyndon B. Johnson, welfare programs

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