National Affairs: The $75 Billion Question

In the twilight years between uneasy peace and total war, few questions weigh more heavily on the minds of U.S. planners than this one: how much money can the U.S. spend in peacetime for its defense without stifling its economy? This week the National Planning Association, a non-political group of business, labor, agricultural and professional leaders, came up with its own answer: nearly $75 billion a year.

Basing its study on current estimates, which call for a whittling down of defense spending from this year's $53 billion to $42 billion in 1956, the association's staff measured the effect of three bigger, hypothetical...

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