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Opinions Vary About War's Potential Impact On Local Economy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — No one argues that the local economy could use a boost. But will war do the trick?

The answers vary.

At Big Ed's restaurant in downtown Raleigh, there are as many opinions about the war as there are pitchers of sweet tea.

Retired firefighter Hubert Altman thinks war would be a shot in the arm for a weakened economy.

"Today," Altman said, "you notice the stock market has risen because they've taken doubt out of people's minds about what's going to happen."

Charlotte Regan said she's worried about what might happen to her nest egg if the country goes to war. She's already seen her life savings shrink.

"I think there's a good chance we'll lose more money," Regan said. "The money has to come from somewhere to cover the expense."

Economists predict that consumers will be cautious about spending while U.S. troops are in harm's way. Military deployments have also left fewer consumers in some parts of North Carolina.

Economic experts say a quick and decisive victory could give the economy a boost, but they predict a return to sluggish growth. They say that, as long as companies face an uncertain future, they aren't likely to create enough jobs to pull out of a slump.

Experts think the economy will grow two to three percent after the war. They say the days of five- or six-percent growth, like occurred during the late '90's, are over.