Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There's coming a day when we all will have to pay…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:41 PM Permalink

…(as if we haven't already) a few hundred thousands, or millions, of boatloads of money for bush Oil War. Bob Herbert of the NYT Opinion Section has apparently discovered what we in the blog land have been saying for years, which is that this is the most expensive boondoggle in all of history, that the final tab for this misadventure is going to cost America at least $2.1 TRILLION, and that it may easily reach a total cost of over $3 TRILLION dollars.

But I do appreciate his efforts to document what we could have done with all that money without this ridiculous and illegal war of aggression. From the article, titled "The $2 Trillion Nightmare:
The war in Iraq will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers not hundreds of billions of dollars, but an astonishing $2 trillion, and perhaps more. There has been very little in the way of public conversation, even in the presidential campaigns, about the consequences of these costs, which are like a cancer inside the American economy.

On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. […]

Mr. Hormats mentioned Social Security and Medicare, saying that both could have been put “on a more sustainable basis.” And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers.

What we’re getting instead is the stuff of nightmares. […] These include the obligation to provide health care and disability benefits for returning veterans. Those costs will be with us for decades.

Mr. Stiglitz noted that nearly 40 percent of the 700,000 troops from the first gulf war, which lasted just a month, have become eligible for disability benefits. The current war is approaching five years in duration.

“Imagine then,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “what a war — that will almost surely involve more than 2 million troops and will almost surely last more than six or seven years — will cost. Already we are seeing large numbers of returning veterans showing up at V.A. hospitals for treatment, large numbers applying for disability and large numbers with severe psychological problems.”

The Bush administration has tried its best to conceal the horrendous costs of the war. It has bypassed the normal budgetary process, financing the war almost entirely through “emergency” appropriations that get far less scrutiny.

Mr. Stiglitz and Mr. Hormats both addressed the foolhardiness of waging war at the same time that the government is cutting taxes and sharply increasing non-war-related expenditures.

Mr. Hormats told the committee:

“Normally, when America goes to war, nonessential spending programs are reduced to make room in the budget for the higher costs of the war. Individual programs that benefit specific constituencies are sacrificed for the common good ... And taxes have never been cut during a major American war. For example, President Eisenhower adamantly resisted pressure from Senate Republicans for a tax cut during the Korean War.”

Said Mr. Stiglitz: “Because the administration actually cut taxes as we went to war, when we were already running huge deficits, this war has, effectively, been entirely financed by deficits. The national debt has increased by some $2.5 trillion since the beginning of the war, and of this, almost $1 trillion is due directly to the war itself ... By 2017, we estimate that the national debt will have increased, just because of the war, by some $2 trillion.”
Why it took so long for a senate committee to find out this information is beyond me, as I have been seeing these figures for several years now, based on much of the same information from these same world-renowned economic experts.

Americans suffer, Iraqis suffer, the world suffers as bush bankrupts the country. Only bush knows how completely he has screwed up this country and it will take years to unravel and extricate us from the damage he has done. And people are actually thinking of electing McCain the Insane, who would continue to carry out neocon instructions and bush policies that will further damage America?

Now bush is speaking of yet another engagement with Venezuela, which supplies about 25% of the oil we import everyday. If you think gas is high now, just wait until bush pisses off Hugo Chavez enough to cut our oil supplies from Venezuela.

Can you say (or pay) $10 a gallon for gas, or more ?

I guess bush feels some burning personal need to engage America in yet another war we can't win, so if not Iran, why not Venezuela? After all, there must be protection supplied for the Columbian Cocaine Cartels.

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