Jujudahl, the reason the US in the 50s was, relatively speaking, so successful was because we were the only country that had an un-destroyed industrial base. Germany, France, the UK, the USSR, Japan, China, everyone else had their industrial base destroyed in WWII. As a result, we could charge want we wanted and still have full production and employment.
On the separate point of the MIC, Eisenhower was absolutely right - any time you let the government throw money around, people find ways to take advantage of it. All the more reason to keep government small. Let decisions (and spending) be at the local level, or the state level, so the opportunity for corruption is reduced.