Thursday, July 14, 2011

A trillion here and a trillion there...

Frist Center by paynehollow
Frist Center, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

According to a Reuters repot (citing a Brown University study), the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan total between $2.3 and 2.7 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T" thus far and that costs will continue to explode when we factor in the care of the wounded and survivors of the killed. The final bill is estimated to be between $3.7 and 4.4 trillion.

Added to that, between 220,000 to 250,000 people have died from the warfare, with many more deaths attributable to the war indirectly, from the loss of clean water, healthcare and poor nutrition.

An additional ~365,000 have been wounded. 7.8 million people have been displaced/lost their homes.

This "war on terror" with fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq is our longest-running war and our second most costly (after WWII).

I feel compelled here to recall the giddy early days of our invasion in Iraq, where then-Secretary Rumsfeld estimated the cost of the Iraqi war at $50 billion, but that might be going to high, because others will help chip in and pay for it...

Rumsfeld (answering a question about the cost of the Iraq war):

Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question...

Oh, silly, silly, evil Donald! A few billion, several trillion, what's the difference?!

Unless you hold to that old-fashioned conservative notion that goes... "a trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there and pretty soon, it starts adding up!"

And what is the debate going on in Washington right now, even as we speak (or write)? Why the GOP is insisting on $4 trillion in budget cuts. Hmmm, what COULD we possibly have done over the last decade to save ~$4 trillion? Oh, here's an idea! Why don't we NOT INVADE Iraq and Afghanistan. Why in the WORLD did the Democratic President insist on making that $4 trillion expenditure in the first place?! What was he thinking??

Oh, wait a second: It WASN'T a Democratic president who led us into this on-going $4 trillion + fiasco, it was a REPUBLICAN plan (one that too many stupid Democrats caved in on and went along with, despite an unprecedented public outcry against it).

Okay, enough with the sarcasm. My point is, if we don't want to be $4 trillion in debt, then perhaps we shouldn't have wrongly and foolishly invaded Iraq. Perhaps we should have been content in Afghanistan to do the initial retribution against those who supported the 9/11 attack and ended our role there.

I can't say how sickened I am by the GOP's preening about this massive debt when it can be largely laid at their feet.

Finally, it has been noted that the Bush-era protests against the war have gotten much more quiet since Obama has taken office. Charges of partisanship have been made. This is not the case, of course. We who opposed the wars, STILL oppose the wars. We strongly oppose Obama's own foray into invading nations in Libya.

But the reality is that Obama inherited these wars from Bush and we're IMpatiently waiting for him to deliver on his promises to end the wars.

But this is one of the reasons that the anti-war crowd opposes especially these sorts of invasions is precisely because, once you're there, it's hard to know what the right thing to do. "If we leave, the nation might collapse and mass killings might occur. If we don't leave, people are STILL being killed (the last six months in Afghanistan have been the deadliest for civilians, yet, according to a BBC report)." There is no good resolution to this swampy morass we were led into.

The analogy might be made to a forest fire. If some idiot started up a forest fire in a dry region and immediately set out to try to put it out... and KEPT trying to put it out and, after six months, the fire was still burning, what is the right answer? JUst leave and say, "Well, I tried..." or keep trying to put it out with no end in sight? It's not easy to leave, even though, leave we must. But the RIGHT answer is, "Don't start the fire in the first place." ESPECIALLY when that fire is going to bankrupt our nation and place us trillions of dollars in debt.

Bush started a fire, with the support of most in Congress. There is no easy way to put this fire out and no easy way to get out of the fire-fighting business. It's a lesson in WHY WE DON'T INVADE NATIONS or engage in nation-building-by-war in the first place. IF you're going to want a military, then have the decency to reserve it for protection against invasions.

As President James Madison noted...

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes... known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. ... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.


Edwin Drood said...

Obama spent $3.27 trillion on the stimulus. We think if failed but he assures us that it would have been much worse had we not spent that money.

So in the same spirt of arguing from the non-factual I contend that the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan prevented a much larger attack that would have cost us 100 Trillion.

Dan Trabue said...

The difference being that there is some rational groundings for thinking that the economy was in need of a stimulus (even if I disagree with it, it's not a wholly irrational position to take), whereas grabbing a number like $100 trillion out of thin air and guessing that things might have been bad enough to cost that sounds, well, like just a wild guess, without much rationality behind it.

Doug said...

And you're comparing $4 trillion spent over the course of a decade to $3 trillion in a single stimulus. Huge difference.

John Farrier said...

I enthusiastically supported the war in Afghanistan in the beginning, but now I think that I may have been wrong to do so.

We had to do something, of course. Massive, savage retaliation must be seen by the world as the inevitable consequence of attacking the US homeland.

Probably the least bad solution would have been better to lay waste to the country and then prop up the old emir as a puppet. I don't see compelling evidence that the country is ready for anything resembling a democracy.

Of course, this plan wouldn't have addressed the long-term problem of Islamofascism paired with nuclear proliferation. Ignoring that will lead to a mushroom cloud over New York City. It may have been overly ambitious of Bush and his colleagues to try to reform Islam. But they were, at least, trying to address that long-term problem.

Edwin Drood said...

In the spirt of after the fact advice, does anyone want to imagine what the world would be like with a nuclear Iran and a Saddam's Iraq?

BTW I used the exact same formula to come up with 100 trillion as Obama did to come up with his 640k jobs "saved or created".

Dan Trabue said...

It may have been overly ambitious of Bush and his colleagues to try to reform Islam. But they were, at least, trying to address that long-term problem.

In a ass-backwards sort of way, one could make that suggestion.

But not in any practical or rational way, not that I can see. Reform Islam by making heroes of Saddam and bin Laden? I don't think so. Reform Islam by confirming what the radical muslims have been saying about our acting like we're above the law and imperialistic? Not the right way to do it, seems to me.

Bubba said...

Two wars over the course of a decade has cost at most $2.7 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T".

Or 270 Billion a year.

The U.S. debt now stands at $14 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T".

Just three years ago the debt stood at $10 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T".

So, we've run up $4 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T" in three years, running up MORE debt in three years than two sizable wars cost in a decade.

In other words, those wars cost us, at most, $270 Billion a year. We're currently adding over $1.3 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T" to our debt in deficit spending each year.


In February, Obama presented a budget that INCREASES the debt by ANOTHER $10 T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T" over the next decade.

It's not clear what his revised proposal would cost, because he didn't submit an actual second budget; Obama just gave a speech.

Asked to score Obama's proposal, Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf noted, "We don’t estimate speeches."

We could talk about the Congressional Democrats' proposals, but the Senate majority hasn't proposed a budget in well over two years.


There are strong arguments that our financial situation is much more dire, by orders of magnitude. State and local governments are already in trouble because of unfunded liabilities; using the same methods that apply to private businesses, we would find that our government's total debt is around $140 trillion.

That's not a type: it's ten times worse than we think, it's one hundred and forty T-T-Trillion-with-a-"T".

The bulk of our current deficits have little to do with military spending, which has kept under the historic postwar average of 6% of GDP EVEN with two foreign wars.

It's not even a result of decreased revenues. Tax revenues still aren't up to the average of 18% of GDP, but even if they were, they can't keep pace with spending that has increased to 25 PERCENT of GDP.

The problem is spending, domestic spending in particular, and it is our welfare programs that are driving the debt crisis.

Our unfunded liabilities -- the amount we would need RIGHT NOW to pay for liabilities that will come due -- are staggering.

$15 trillion for Social Security.

$20 trillion for the prescription drug program.

And $79 trillion for Medicare.


"My point is, if we don't want to be $4 trillion in debt, then perhaps we shouldn't have wrongly and foolishly invaded Iraq."

That's simply not the major driver of the debt crisis. One can argue that it wasn't worth the cost, and that it's one more thing that we can't afford, but it's simply not reasonable to fixate on the spending one doesn't like when other spending is larger by a factor of THIRTY.

Context matters, it has always mattered.

Bubba said...

To be more precise...

"'s simply not reasonable to fixate on the spending one doesn't like when other spending is larger by a factor of THIRTY."

I should write that other sources of debt (not spending, strictly defined) are larger by a factor of thirty (i.e., the sum total of unfunded liabilities that I listed above).

But that wasn't the only bit of imprecision in this thread.

"My point is, if we don't want to be $4 trillion in debt, then perhaps we shouldn't have wrongly and foolishly invaded Iraq."

Dan, even from your own summary you cannot argue that we're CURRENTLY $4 trillion in debt because of Afghanistan and Iraq: that's the estimated "final bill," not the current running total estimated between $2.3 and $2.7 trillion.

The number of $4 trillion is prominent because that's been the rough amount of debt added since the 2008 election, but you shouldn't confuse the possible FUTURE cost for those two wars with their estimated CURRENT cost, even though that it's easier to make your rhetorical point by doing so.


If one is interested in the situation that we face, last year National Review ran a cover story on the true national debt.

"The debt numbers start to get really hairy when you add in liabilities under Social Security and Medicare — in other words, when you account for the present value of those future payments in the same way that businesses have to account for the obligations they incur. Start with the entitlements and those numbers get run-for-the-hills ugly in a hurry: a combined $106 trillion in liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, or more than five times the total federal, state, and local debt we’ve totaled up so far. In real terms, what that means is that we’d need $106 trillion in real, investable capital, earning 6 percent a year, on hand, today, to meet the obligations we have under those entitlement programs. For perspective, that’s about twice the total private net worth of the United States. (A little more, in fact.)"

City Journal recently posted an article about the crunch that especially local governments face because of pensions and healthcare programs which have become very quickly unsustainable.

Bubba said...

Dan, I mention context because I believe you have a habit of taking quotes and such out of context. You and I both know the list of Bible passages for which that's been a problem -- including Romans 12-13 and Psalm 106 -- and recently you made a big to-do about Marshall Art's statement regarding whether one can be saved and teach that God condones homosexual behavior, when the context of his comment clearly contradicts the position you were attributing to him.

It seems to me that you also do this with individual statistics, focusing on the number of deaths caused by automobiles with no accounting for the number of lives saved by the same technology (e.g., with a rural ambulance) or the number of lives that would have been lost through older forms of transportation.

(Christopher Reeves' life proves the dangers of horses.)

(I wonder how many lifesaving advances, such as pacemakers and vaccines, would be unavailable if society heeded your call to simple living.)

Here, you focus on the cost of these two wars without looking at what else the government is spending and what's REALLY driving the debt.

And if you're going to quote James Madison, let's quote James Madison.

Here's Madison on the Constitution's welfare clause, which has been relentless invoked to justify the welfare state.

"With respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the "Articles of Confederation," and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted."


"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one...."

And more simply:

"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

And here I thought Bubba only filibustered on Biblical matters.

Feodor said...

Is Bubbs aware that the national debt went from 6 trillion to 12.5 trillion under GWB?


This was due to two major things: war and cutting taxes. And the Debt ceiling was raised 11 times in his Presidency.

That it has now risen further, in the face of government's need to find some answers to the fiscal crisis appearing at Bush's exit should hardly surprise anyone.

Edwin Drood said...

Wow blame Bush, you just can't accept the fact that Obama was a total fraud can you?

John Farrier said...

Dan wrote:

In a ass-backwards sort of way, one could make that suggestion.

But not in any practical or rational way, not that I can see. Reform Islam by making heroes of Saddam and bin Laden? I don't think so. Reform Islam by confirming what the radical muslims have been saying about our acting like we're above the law and imperialistic? Not the right way to do it, seems to me.

Do you have an alternative solution to offer?

Feodor said...


Under GWB, the national debt more than doubled from $6 trillion to $12.5 trillion and the debt ceiling was raised 11 times. (It took 20 years - from Reagan [1 to 3 tril - lowering taxes] to Bush Sr. [3 to 5 - a Gulf War cost] to Clinton [5 to 6] - to get to 6 trillion. And then 8 years of Bush [lowering taxes and war] to get to 12.5 tril.)

Six months before the end of his Presidency, the nation entered financial crisis, nearly bringing a total collapse to the world's markets.

To ward off the worst, the Bush administration, via the Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, executed ad hoc crisis management and bailed out some investment banks but not others and AIG.

And your avoidant dismissal is to refuse to go back more than two and a half years?

How old are you?

Bubba said...

It's quite true that, as a percentage of GDP, tax revenue shrank from the beginning of Bush's first term to the conclusion of his second term, but it has nothing to do with his tax cuts.

It first fell because of the economic shock of 9/11, but it returned to its historical average of 18 percent of GDP before falling again in 2008: it fell, *NOT* because of the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, but because of the fiscal crisis causing contraction in many areas that the government taxes.

Both in dollars and as a percentage of GDP, income tax revenues rose, year after year, after the second round of tax cuts in 2003.


Using even the high-end estimate of what Dan quotes, the two wars cost only $2.7 trillion, less than half of the $6.5 trillion of the Bush deficits. Considering that defense spending is STILL less than the historical postwar average of 5.2 % of GDP (see pg 9 of the linked document), it's hard to argue that this has been a major driver of deficit spending, either. A government that collects 15% or more can adjust it priorities.


Bush was a profligate spender who never exercised his veto power to limit spending, much to the outrage of fiscal conservatives who objected to things like the farm bill, the prescription drug program, earmarked congressional pork, and TARP I.

It's worth noting that spending didn't improve when Congress became majority Democrat, or when a Democrat succeeded Bush: Obama's smallest projected deficit is STILL greater than Bush's largest deficit.

Yes, the debt ceiling was raised before, but there was a certain junior Senator from Illinois who opposed that: was he doing so for partisan reasons then?

And the argument that the massive spending was necessary begs the question of whether that spending has accomplished anything good, especially since Obama has admitted that the "shovel-ready" projects weren't ready.

The recession's job loss has been the longest and deepest since World War II. We're at the lowest level of workforce participation since women joined the workforce en masse in the 1970's. Minorities especially are dealing with depression-level unemployment. Account for those who have stopped looking for work, we're still in double-digit unemployment as a country.

Obama has broken away from the supply-side policies of Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush, and thus we lack the robust recoveries that were created under these previous administrations.


Bubba said...


One could ALMOST argue that this crisis is different than those that came before, but we can look to Canada to see that Keynesian economics have failed us.

"The recession hit Canada hard. Because its economy and ours are connected, our unemployment rates moved similarly from July 2008 until the 'stimulus' passed; both countries' rates were 6.1 percent in August 2008 and rose in lockstep through February 2009, to around 8 percent.

"But right after Obama's 'stimulus,' things changed. Canada greatly outperformed America in creating jobs -- supposedly the whole point of the 'stimulus.' US unemployment shot up to 10.1 percent and stayed high, remaining above 9.5 percent for almost all of the next 18 months. But Canadian unemployment peaked at 8.7 percent in September 2009 and kept falling. While our latest unemployment rate rose again to 9.1 percent, Canada's has fallen to 7.4 percent.

"Before the 'stimulus,' economic forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predicted that US unemployment would fall to 8.6 percent by December 2009. Instead, the US rate hit 10 percent. In Canada, it was 8.4 percent.

"Why did the US and Canadian rates diverge?

"Canada adopted a much smaller and quite different 'stimulus' program that emphasized cutting tax rates and regulations and that produced dramatically smaller deficits. On a per-capita basis, Canada's stimulus was about a third that of America's, costing $979 per person compared to our $2,730. The conservative Canadian government chose not to introduce any big programs.

"Obama, meanwhile, adopted big-ticket Keynesian programs, believing that government spending for its own sake creates wealth. But Democratic emphasis on 'green' energy, government-approved investments and technology and higher salaries for public-school teachers merely moved money away from where Americans and companies would have otherwise spent it.

"Obama's stimulus also raised the effective marginal tax rates that some individuals face, discouraging work; Canada, by contrast, cut some marginal rates. Obama kept the corporate tax rate stuck at 35 percent, while Canadians cut their corresponding rate from 21 percent in 2007 to 16.5 percent this year -- with a further cut to 15 percent planned for next year. By last year, Canada had the lowest overall tax rate on business investment of any major industrialized country.

"Yes, as often happens during recessions, Canada's revenues fell and its deficit grew. But US net debt as share of GDP will almost double from 2008 to 2012 -- rising from 48 to 81 percent. Canada's net debt will rise by slightly more than 13 points, from 22.4 to 35.8 percent.

We have tax increases that are set to go into effect after the 2012 elections; the untold costs and regulations of Obamacare; a general reluctance to loosen domestic energy creation in the midst of rising prices; the spectre of cap-and-trade through EPA fiat; and the thuggish bullying of Boeing for daring to build a new plant in a right-to-work state. Very little of what the current administration is doing seems geared to economic growth and job creation.


Let us concede that both parties like to portray their opponents as irresponsible when they're in power.

It still doesn't follow that we ought to increase the debt limit time and again (what's the point of the limit, then?), and it doesn't follow that there aren't consequences for the massive growth in government.

Feodor said...

Fareed Zakaria has a simple solution for Bubba;

"The United States is still, by most measures, one of the world's most dynamic economies, one of the most competitive economies in the world. We have the leading companies in the leading sectors in the advanced industrial world. We have an incredibly dynamic society. We have high levels of entrepreneurship. We have the best universities in the world.

So in other words, we are an economic dynamo. We also have impeccable credit. In the history of the United States, we have never defaulted. What we don't have is a political system that can take the very simple measures we need to take to deal with our short-term deficit problem.

To put it in perspective, if Congress were to do nothing, which is something it does so well, the Bush tax cuts would expire next year, right. That by itself, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, would yield $3.9 trillion to the federal government over the next 10 years.

We would go to the bottom of the pack in terms of deficit as a percentage of GDP among the rich countries in the world. We would basically solve our fiscal problems short-term. We have a longer term health care issue, but we would solve our fiscal problems literally if Congress did nothing."

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Furthermore, if Congress acted in a responsible manner to stimulate job growth - more spending on infrastructure repair and building, more longer-term investment - it would mitigate the revenue shortfall we are currently undergoing due to the protracted economic slump.

As a matter of record, tax revenue is at its lowest point in over sixty years. When folks in Washington claim the problem is spending, not revenue, they are factually inaccurate. The immediate deficit issue is jobs related, for which there are mechanisms to counter.

Along with another, larger stimulus, the Fed could, quite simply, dump billions of dollars in to the economy to stimulate consumer spending, which would start the demand-side of the economy moving, creating a need for more jobs.

Folks who actually know stuff, rather than folks who filibuster on blogs, have been talking about this over and over and over. Instead, we get the equivalent of blog filibusters in Washington insisting that the United States, a huge, diverse economy in a country that has always prided itself on its ability to achieve any goal, overcome any obstacle is incapable of taking the simple, common-sense, and well-known steps necessary to fix things.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

When the Fed used quantitative easing (QE, QEII), the hope was that by buying up government paper, the cash would then flow from the banks to businesses via capital loans and other such economic investments. Instead, the banks turned that money over to mutual fund traders, who worked various financial products, including still-existing mortgage back securities, for short term, high yield returns. Despite being rescued from destruction, the banks preferred making a quick buck playing long odds on obscure financial instruments to making business loans to help jump-start the economy, including both hiring and demand.

All of this is well-documented, all of it has proved disastrous, and yet, still, certain folks in positions of authority insist that it was "a failure". It is true it was a failure, but for the wrong reasons. Banks aren't making loans to businesses and individuals not because they fear losing the loans. They aren't making the loans because interest rates continue to be historically low, and there are better promised returns in risky ventures elsewhere.

During the Gilded Age, this practice was denounced, and the people and businesses who engaged in these practices were denounced by, among others, good Christian folk as social parasites. Today, they are defended, and held up as the pinnacle of American achievement. Even after massive evidence - whether anyone wishes to accept it as such - this behavior is what brought the world to the brink of collapse, and still goes on, despite everything no one has the guts to call it out for what it is.

Edwin Drood said...


I'm not going back 2 years I'm going back 5 years when the Democrats took congress. Tax revenue was up and unemployment was down. Nobody argued the fact that we needed to get our national debt under control. 9/11, two wars and Katrina were expensive.

The problem was when Republicans argued with congress to stop forcing banks to give bad loans in the name of "social justice". Our current President lead to charge to denounce these people as racists. Now our President has to deal with it. The solution can't be borrow more money and blame people. That may have worked as a Senator/candidate/"community organizer" but it won't fly as President.

I'm not following your logic of "Our country made poor decisions in the past so lets make some more"


"I hate Bush, but since Bush wanted a increase in the credit limit then it must be ok"

From your POV shouldn't you wan't you want Obama to do the opposite of what Bush did?

Doug said...


All of this is well-documented, all of it has proved disastrous, and yet, still, certain folks in positions of authority insist that it was "a failure".

The bounce-back that Canada has experienced is also well-documented, as is their means to that end. Doing exactly what conservatives have said to do has brought them out of this recession before us, even with this dynamo at hand. Compared to Canada, this has been a miserable failure.

Economists friendly to your perspective may say it "worked", but history says otherwise.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

According to this report, the Canadian response to the economic crisis was significantly different from the American response:

"The Bank of Canada and the Government have acted throughout the period of economic weakness to improve access to financing for Canadian consumers, households and businesses. A significant milestone in this regard is the agreement to restructure non-bank asset-backed commercial paper in Canada, a singular achievement that enhances financial stability and the health of Canada's capital markets.


"The Canadian economy is also benefiting from previous investments in infrastructure and the resolution of fiscal balance between orders of government. For example, Budget 2007 set out a seven-year $33-billion plan to boost Canada's public infrastructure—things such as the roads, bridges, sewer, water and public transit systems that support commerce—and provided long-term, growing transfer support to provinces and territories. With current federal transfer support at an unprecedented level, governments are in a position to work together on the current economic challenges.


"Canada's Economic Action Plan includes $13.5 billion over three years to help those hardest hit, including enhancing Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, freezing EI rates and reducing personal income taxes.

Unemployed workers will receive enhanced benefits by April 1—an extra five weeks, work-sharing and wage earner protection.
Additional funding for enhanced training for unemployed Canadians will be available to provinces and territories by April 2009.
Enhanced support for older workers in vulnerable communities will be available to participating provinces by April.
Measures to provide more opportunities for youth employment are anticipated to be in place by June.
Five Aboriginal training and employment projects will be approved in April and commence in June.
Most Canadians will begin to see benefits from personal income tax reductions, for measures effective January 1, 2009, on their pay stubs as of April 1."

In other words, they did the kind of Keynesian combination of direct investment and transfer-payment reform and enhancement combined with stricter regulation of financial instrument trading that the US did not do (I do not consider Frank-Dodd a serious attempt at regulating financial markets).

So, um, what was your point again?

George W. said...

I'm not sure if the article you quote was by a guy who felt like talking out his ass or what, but the difference between the US and Canada during the recession is far deeper than simple "stimulus" spending.

You are trying to say that we can intuit that Obama made poor policy decisions by looking to Canada and seeing how they handled the same recession. This is about as fallacious a statement as I have heard in years.
Did the article mention that Canada has severe restrictions on the banking sector that prevented Canadian banking institutions from gambling on bad paper in a real estate bubble? Canada's "stimulus" amounted to a bailout of GM and Chrysler- if only to keep them from shutting down plants in Windsor and Oshawa.

Canada didn't have the depth of recession that the US had because they have a properly regulated banking system. Is that what you are arguing for Bubba? More regulations? More "socialism"?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said... noted 3.3% growth in Canadian GDP for the fourth quarter of 2010. This was due in large part to increased exports to the US, high oil prices, and a strong Canadian dollar.

Feodor said...

Edwin, on unemployment, try going back 12 years and see what you come up with. Then try going back 42 years and see what you come up with. Then try going back 59 years. Lastly, go back 66 years. And then let us know what all these chronological markers have in common.

Doug said...

The "shovel-ready" projects weren't shovel-ready, as Obama later admitted. I'm all for infrastructure improvements, but the stimulus went to diversity manuals for janitors, in one school, for example. It was a bill of goods for infrastructure while enriching liberal interests. I will say that we did get some infrastructure improvements, but not nearly what the administration claimed.

If part of Canada's recovery was due to infrastructure spending (which is something government is tasked to do), wish our government had followed suit.

Doug said...

And Dan, speaking of wars:

We who opposed the wars, STILL oppose the wars. We strongly oppose Obama's own foray into invading nations in Libya.

But the reality is that Obama inherited these wars from Bush and we're IMpatiently waiting for him to deliver on his promises to end the wars.

The "anti-war" Left was marching in the streets throughout the Bush presidency. They've gone virtually silent since Obama showed up, and offered hardly a token resistance to Libya. Say all you want, but the actions of the organized, "anti-war" Left speaks of that double standard for itself.

Dan Trabue said...

Doug, the "anti-war Left" was largely silent during Bush's invasion of Afghanistan, too. The reasons for this...

1. The anti-war crowd is not a monolith. We run the gamut from actual pacifists (which hold, in themselves, a wide range of beliefs) to those who are generally opposed to war, but not always, to those who are opposed to specific wars.

2. As such, you won't always see anti-war activists out with every action. Those of us who are the most opposed to wars will recognize that we hold a minority position and don't really push the point except in the most egregious of situations (see Iraq). Those who were opposed to Iraq (numbering in the millions) were largely opposed to that specific war in those specific set of circumstances.

3. And so, the absence of widespread street protests during Lybia's invasion is no more a "double standard" than the absence of widespread street protests during Bush's invasion of Afghanistan.

No double standard, just different situations.

Doug said...

Afghanistan was plausibly a war of necessity, which is why I believe it was not protested as much.

But Libya? Heck, even Republicans are divided on that. Certainly there's even less of a reason for us to be there than there was for Iraq. You called Iraq "adventurism", and it would seem Libya is more so. Still, silence.

I know the "anti-war" Left is not monolithic. But the vocal ones are certainly substantially less vocal under a Democrat.

Marshall Art said...

A couple of points:


"And here I thought Bubba only filibustered on Biblical matters."

Bubba's comments are comprehensive attempting to cover all related bases so as to minimize cause for objection or rebuttal. The apologies made by some here for being "bubba-like" in the length of their comments only bear similarity because of length, but never in quality of the commentary.

Dan goes to great lengths to maximize the cost of the wars, but must also do so for every war in order to legitimize using the ploy here. If you're going to count the cost of a band-aid for a paper cut suffered by an administrative member of the armed forces shuffling paperwork related to the commission of the war, do so for every war and then compare. It's easy to run up the costs with ambiguous "deaths attributable to the war indirectly", but one must make sure to do so for every war. What's more, I still have a major problem with those who will look at money spent in their arguments regarding justifications for war. A war is not unjust because it's expensive, nor should it's cause be ignored because of what it might cost to fight it.

As Dan admitted himself, after first stating falsehood, Rumsfeld did not himself estimate the potential cost of the war. Office of Management and Budget did and he merely used their numbers. In any case, calling him "evil" is malicious and unChristian based on nothing more than personal opinion. That's evil in itself.

The effort in Iraq was put into effect by Bush, but was called for by almost every Democrat during the previous administration. Bush gets the heat for actually doing more than talking about it. The cost for both Iraq and Afghanistan would be much lower if the wars were not fought with one hand, but with the aim of total annihilation or total unconditional surrender, as wars need to be fought. Bush's biggest mistake was forcing kid gloves on a military that needed them taken off.

As Bubba notes so well, the costs of the wars are not high on the list of reasons for our current economic situation. Spending during the Bush years, accelerated since the 2006 midterms which brought about the Pelosi led Congress, is the cause without question. At least through the first six years of the Bush admin, revenues from the tax cuts were good. But the spending soon exceeded the benefits they brought.

Spending on infrastructure, though justifiable when the money is there, but sometimes still necessary when it isn't, does NOT stimulate the economy. It is the result of taking money from ourselves to pay ourselves but does not create wealth the way private sector spending does. It is an illusion at best. Marco Rubio says it best by saying we don't need more taxes, we need tax payers. Getting out of the way of business and the free market is what the federal gov't should be doing to generate revenues, and cutting back on spending it should never have started is its obligation.