Monday, November 30, 2009

Paying for War

Bruce Barlett tolls the bell for honesty when accessing the cost of war.  He writes "In recent years, Republicans have been characterized by two principal positions: They like starting wars and don't like paying for them. George W. Bush initiated two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but adamantly refused to pay for either of them by cutting non-military spending or raising taxes. Indeed, at his behest, Congress actually cut taxes (during war time) and established a massive new entitlement program, Medicare Part D.

Bush's actions were unprecedented. During every previous major war in American history, presidents demanded sacrifices from rich and poor alike. As Robert Hormats explains in his 2007 book, The Price of Liberty: Paying for America's Wars, "During most of America's wars, parochial desires--such as tax breaks for favored groups or generous spending for influential constituencies--have been sacrificed to the greater good. The president and both parties in Congress have come together … to cut nonessential spending and increase taxes."
He adds, "Bush and his party, which controlled Congress from 2001 to 2006, never asked for sacrifices from anyone except those in our nation's military and their families. I think that's because the Republicans understood, implicitly, that the American people's support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has always been paper thin. Asking them to sacrifice through higher taxes, domestic spending cuts or reinstatement of the draft would surely have led to massive protests akin to those during the Vietnam era or to political defeat in 2004. George W. Bush knew well that when his father raised taxes in 1990 in part to pay for the first Gulf War, it played a major role in his 1992 electoral defeat."
After the break, read about a new approach proposed by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) which is amazingly simplistic and which would force each Congressperson  to declare how they would continue to fund the wars in an open way, and not increase the federal defecit by asking for sacrifice from the American people.
A new approach?  On Nov. 19, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., introduced H.R. 4130, the "Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010." It would establish a 1% surtax on everyone's federal income tax liability plus an additional percentage on those with a liability over $22,600 (for couples filing jointly), such that revenue from the surtax would pay for the additional cost of fighting the war in Afghanistan.

It's doubtful that this legislation will be enacted. But that's not Obey's purpose. He will probably offer it as an amendment at some point just to have a vote. Republicans in particular will be forced to choose between continuing to fight a war that they started and still strongly support, or raising taxes, which every Republican in Congress would rather drink arsenic than do. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see those who rant daily about Obama's deficits explain why they oppose fiscal responsibility when it comes to supporting our troops.
As has been widely reported, the Obama administration last week, in order to be more transparent about costs, came out with a cost of $500,000 - $1,000,000 per person (troop) per year for fighting in Afghanistan.  That means that sending an additional 40,000 troops as General McChrystal has requested will cost the US taxpayer an additional $20-$40 billion per year to the cost of the war.  The cost of war is indeed great.  Just something to think about.


  1. GW Bush started two wars and told the American people to go shopping. Those actions are unforgivable.

  2. At the time, I really agreed with the first one. He just took his eye off the prize (OBL), or was it never there in the first place?

  3. I thought the President gave a really good speech last night. Then I watched the right tear it to shreds. I was wondering if we watched the same speech. What I like about Obama, even though I vehemently disagree with his economic policies, is his thoughtful & deliberative demeanor when he is talking to the American people. Some on the right actually accused him of being boring--I don't want my President to bang his fist & foam at the mouth. I had enough of Cowboy W's "yahoo--let's fight!" to last me a lifetime. I supported the first war for the reasons laid out by Obama last night. I think we might be in a better position militarily had we not invaded Iraq. We diverted troops & resources from Afghanistan & our gains were reversed. I believe it is important to do what Obama proposes: pick up the slack & do it right. If we don't see the kind of successes we did early on, then we should leave. I actually kept saying "good for you!" at Obama while he was speaking. I was appalled that a couple of the cadets were semi-slouched in their chairs, obviously chewing gum. I hope their superiors saw that, too, and kick their asses. Way to disrespect your C-I-C, you stupid gum chewers!

  4. As I said in a comment to your other post, right-on sister! Unfortunately, me, Mr. Political Discussion was not able to watch the President's speech last night. I wish I could have. My brother got me to play poker with like 8 other people!!! (What a waste! Well, it was fun but I lost $10.00.)
    I have not formulated my views with the increase in troops yet. I supported the war originally because I thought that we should go after OBL. When we decided not to, I was disenfranchised with Bush. I was one of the people, few of us that there were, that predicted disaster in Iraq before the war even started. Give me time and I'll let you know how I feel about the increase in Afghanistan. Generally, I'm leaning towards supporting it because if anyone was paying attention to the President in the debates and election, he always said that we were fighting the wrong war in Iraq. Did you notice that even McCain was not fully supportive of this. It's amazing how strong and more politcal the right wing is with regards to anything that Obama proposes, agree or disagree with it, and how weak the dems are in their support. Not that you want blind party support, but that's one reason why the repubs are so successful. Was there a single one of those Senators on the right who said a single word against Bush? Probably the answer was yes, about 3. Other than that, they were lock-stock in barrell for 8 solid years. Personally for me, it's a little disheartening.

  5. The war should pay for itself.
    There's truck loads of money being made from these "wars" and its time the US people got their cut. These are the big boys wars and the US is only a military pawn used to fulfill there desires. We got rid of sadam ,cuz the sadies wanted him gone as well as the israelis, and the big boys got his oil. In Bananastand we'r there cuz of the T.A.P. trans afgan pipeline.and the heroin. did you know in 2001 OBL had burned down over 80% for the opium fields in afghanistan and production was down to nill, and the big boys couldn't have any of that. did u know the 50% of the worlds cash money supply (thats halve) is used in trafficking of Drugs. and Afganastnd with 80% of the worlds heroin supply thats a shit load of CASH, CASH MONEY. and hw do u launder this money? Wall street.(only place large amounts of cash can change hands and u dont have to account where it came from. ie. Citi bank board member- know largest cocaine dealer in mexico.)and im sorry but Brady looked horrible in monday nights game.
    The war we are fighting over there is with drug loards and their civil wars, and to make sure they dont f@#k with the pipeline. What do you think we r over there to spread Democracy? I mean we use 25% of the worlds recourses and only account for 5% of its population. is this the kind of culture we want others to emulate?
    Listening to senators and congress bla bla bla and the pres bla bla do you really believe they have any control on what our government dose?dont be so foolish . they cant even take a shit with out being told where to go and what to do. Sure they get to play a littl in there own backyards but whenn it comes to matters of large amounts of money being spent, they are just the show. And that fourth and 2 call i could see that it was Brady making the call and coach took the fall for it. I mean its time he US people got there share of these wars. Iraq we want the saudies kicking in as well as the israelis. and the oil we want a cut of that also. In Afgan... we want a % of the pipeline revenues and a pieced of the drug profits or at least some distribution rights . Come on we want to se some cash flow our way or they can kiss American military support goodbye. And Uncial, the carlyle group, halibertion ,, we want a piece of there action also. Halibertion we pull them of of collapse and what do they do ? T hey pull out of the US move there corp to foreign land to avoid paying any taxes. isn't that a kick in the ass? This is a capitalist democracy lets not get greedy,, or is'nt that the point? im afraid for many it is.Come on spread the wealth around a littl. We are the consumers od the world. do they really want us to stop buying? they should make it easyer for us to spend. Put people to work. get cash in their pockets, and none of this trickl down effect. the money grubbs dont spend a dime. now avrg american they know how to spend.Stop cheap imports and put Americans to work. Sht i see im bouncing all over the place, must be this new tobacco iv been useing cant seem to keep it lit? very sticky and stinky.
    Been meaning to post earlier but sleep depredation has limited my leisure time to WWII online and not much more. You know you are spending too much time playing- when you have an in game apartment..
    One thing about the Pres, he is smooth. Big improvement over the idiot. imo
    Pat defense looks weak and without a high powered offens they will be going nowhere, sad to say..
    Who's paying for the war? Just look around the world. There are vast fields, some that canvas the countryside, that are plotted with bright white symbols that mark a hollowed ground. Where a price has been paid that can't be ledgered. Destuction of cities ,populations in turmoil. That 500mil or a bill. it don't even scratch the surface.

  6. Who is richza? I only got through 3/4 of the rant. As to your comment about not initially supporting the Iraq war, I'm pretty certain I told you about my experiences as a dissenter in 2003, didn't I? The name calling was unbelievable, but it turns out I was correct in my prediction of how it would turn out. I wish I had been wrong--so many innocents killed, the country blown to bits, and no WMD. sigh.