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Thread: What 1.2 Trillion Can Buy

  1. #1
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    What 1.2 Trillion Can Buy

    from your good friends the marxists at the NYT business section

    [quote]
    [B]What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy [/B]

    By DAVID LEONHARDT
    Published: January 17, 2007
    The human mind isn’t very well equipped to make sense of a figure like $1.2 trillion. We don’t deal with a trillion of anything in our daily lives, and so when we come across such a big number, it is hard to distinguish it from any other big number. Millions, billions, a trillion — they all start to sound the same.
    The way to come to grips with $1.2 trillion is to forget about the number itself and think instead about what you could buy with the money. When you do that, a trillion stops sounding anything like millions or billions.

    For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

    Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

    The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.

    All that would be one way to spend $1.2 trillion. Here would be another:

    The war in Iraq.

    [B]In the days before the war almost five years ago, the Pentagon estimated that it would cost about $50 billion. Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed.

    Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so. [/B]

    These estimates probably would have turned out to be too optimistic even if the war had gone well. Throughout history, people have typically underestimated the cost of war, as William Nordhaus, a Yale economist, has pointed out.

    But the deteriorating situation in Iraq has caused the initial predictions to be off the mark by a scale that is difficult to fathom. The operation itself — the helicopters, the tanks, the fuel needed to run them, the combat pay for enlisted troops, the salaries of reservists and contractors, the rebuilding of Iraq — is costing more than $300 million a day, estimates Scott Wallsten, an economist in Washington.

    That translates into a couple of billion dollars a week and, over the full course of the war, an eventual total of $700 billion in direct spending.

    The two best-known analyses of the war’s costs agree on this figure, but they diverge from there. Linda Bilmes, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate and former Clinton administration adviser, put a total price tag of more than $2 trillion on the war. They include a number of indirect costs, like the economic stimulus that the war funds would have provided if they had been spent in this country.

    Mr. Wallsten, who worked with Katrina Kosec, another economist, argues for a figure closer to $1 trillion in today’s dollars. My own estimate falls on the conservative side, largely because it focuses on the actual money that Americans would have been able to spend in the absence of a war. I didn’t even attempt to put a monetary value on the more than 3,000 American deaths in the war.

    Besides the direct military spending, I’m including the gas tax that the war has effectively imposed on American families (to the benefit of oil-producing countries like Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia). At the start of 2003, a barrel of oil was selling for $30. Since then, the average price has been about $50. Attributing even $5 of this difference to the conflict adds another $150 billion to the war’s price tag, Ms. Bilmes and Mr. Stiglitz say. The war has also guaranteed some big future expenses. Replacing the hardware used in Iraq and otherwise getting the United States military back into its prewar fighting shape could cost $100 billion. And if this war’s veterans receive disability payments and medical care at the same rate as veterans of the first gulf war, their health costs will add up to $250 billion. If the disability rate matches Vietnam’s, the number climbs higher. Either way, Ms. Bilmes says, “It’s like a miniature Medicare.”

    In economic terms, you can think of these medical costs as the difference between how productive the soldiers would have been as, say, computer programmers or firefighters and how productive they will be as wounded veterans. In human terms, you can think of soldiers like Jason Poole, a young corporal profiled in The New York Times last year. Before the war, he had planned to be a teacher. After being hit by a roadside bomb in 2004, he spent hundreds of hours learning to walk and talk again, and he now splits his time between a community college and a hospital in Northern California.

    Whatever number you use for the war’s total cost, it will tower over costs that normally seem prohibitive. Right now, including everything, the war is costing about $200 billion a year.

    Treating heart disease and diabetes, by contrast, would probably cost about $50 billion a year. The remaining 9/11 Commission recommendations — held up in Congress because of their cost — might cost somewhat less. Universal preschool would be $35 billion. In Afghanistan, $10 billion could make a real difference. At the National Cancer Institute, annual budget is about $6 billion.

    “This war has skewed our thinking about resources,” said Mr. Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative-leaning research group. “In the context of the war, $20 billion is nothing.”

    As it happens, $20 billion is not a bad ballpark estimate for the added cost of Mr. Bush’s planned surge in troops. By itself, of course, that price tag doesn’t mean the surge is a bad idea. If it offers the best chance to stabilize Iraq, then it may well be the right option.

    But the standard shouldn’t simply be whether a surge is better than the most popular alternative — a far-less-expensive political strategy that includes getting tough with the Iraqi government. The standard should be whether the surge would be better than the political strategy plus whatever else might be accomplished with the $20 billion.

    This time, it would be nice to have that discussion before the troops reach Iraq.

    [/quote]

  2. #2
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    I was hoping it was going to be a super hot chick.

  3. #3
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    too bad the commander and chief in the late 90's didn't spend a fraction of that money in the late 90's to eliminate terrorists.....we wouldn't be in this mess never mind the gozillions lost on 9-11...

    ....

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]too bad the commander and chief in the late 90's didn't spend a fraction of that money in the late 90's to eliminate terrorists.....we wouldn't be in this mess [/QUOTE]

    50 years from now something will go wrong and somewhere CBNY will find a way to bring Bill Clinton in the conversation.

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    [QUOTE=bitonti]50 years from now something will go wrong and somewhere CBNY will find a way to bring Bill Clinton in the conversation.[/QUOTE]


    Its not like he can admit that the Iraq War cost was way higher than any reacharound republicans figured it would be. You can even compile a list of all the things the retards like Wolfowitz, Feith and Cheney said that proved to be totally false....but alas.....its all Clinton's fault.

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    i like his theory - if Clinton would have solved all the world's problems before Bush took office we wouldn't be in the mess!

    sounds about right

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    [QUOTE=bitonti]i like his theory - if Clinton would have solved all the world's problems before Bush took office we wouldn't be in the mess!

    sounds about right[/QUOTE]

    People are very tired of the republicans not facing the music for what the Bush/Pino-Cheney admin has done.

    Clinton left the WH in better shape than Bush has it in right now. The republicans need to stop lving in the past. Maybe they should stay there though. It cost them the last election by doing that.

    CBTNY, I don't know why you don't think that I could not have inspired the Pino-Cheney term. He thinks he is a dictator. Have you seen it on any other site?

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=bitonti]50 years from now something will go wrong and somewhere CBNY will find a way to bring Bill Clinton in the conversation.[/QUOTE]


    and 30 years after that bitonit will stil be blaming George Bush for the world's ills.....

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE]By DAVID LEONHARDT
    Published: January 17, 2007
    The human mind isn’t very well equipped to make sense of a figure like $1.2 trillion.......[/QUOTE]

    I stopped reading right there. I am perfectly capable of "making sense" of the number 1.2 Trillion. It's not friggin rocket science.

    If the author feels the need to talk down to his potential readers, and insult their intelligence (while proudly proclaiming his own, of course, since he will assumedly then explain to us simpletons what 1.2 Trillion REALLY means), I see no reason to waste my time reading whatever else this arragant SOB has to say.

    I can only assume (again, since I didn't read it past it's insulting opening line) that 1.2 Trillion is the cost of the War in Iraq, and this genius of mathematics is going to tell us all how much good that money could have done spent elsewhere.

    If that IS the case, then great, point made. Thanks for enlighting the ignorant plebes. I doubt you'd find a single person who wouldn't have rather spent that money at home, on American Citizens. The only debate is the rightiousness of teh War itself, not the desire to keep American Tax money in America.

  10. #10
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    Another problem that this war has caused is that it is not funded at all. There is no "war tax" as there was in most other wars. Even his dad raised taxes after he was elected and then got us into a shorter war.

    Bush cut taxes and started a stupid war. Just how dumb is this guy? If you don't pay now, you will certainly pay later. In this case later may mean your kids or grand kids.

    Who voted for this winner?

  11. #11
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    Caveat emptor. $1.2T bought liberals eons upon lifetimes of whining, bemoaning, and dramatics. It's a nice soundbite, one-point-two-[I]TRILLION[/I]! You'd think the applied subtraction to our economy would have a severe impact on our economy right? Oh, wait, I forgot, the co-op market is soft in Boston. Oh, the financial hell Bush & Co has wrought.

    A-holes. Can the lad (or lass) who cannot find work please pipe up? Please? Where is he? We need some testimony from a victim of this ruined economy we're suffering from.

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]Another problem that this war has caused is that it is not funded at all. There is no "war tax" as there was in most other wars. Even his dad raised taxes after he was elected and then got us into a shorter war.

    Bush cut taxes and started a stupid war. Just how dumb is this guy? If you don't pay now, you will certainly pay later. In this case later may mean your kids or grand kids.

    Who voted for this winner?[/QUOTE]


    meanwhile the economy steamrolls along, employment in the US is at it's highest levels ever, tax receipts are breaking records and the deficit keeps reducing to levels unexpected...

    it is easy to point out the ignorant one in this arguement....

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]Even his dad raised taxes after he was elected and then got us into a shorter war.[/quote]
    And you guys never let him forget it, (even now, as you admire him for it).

    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]Who voted for this winner?[/QUOTE]
    The same incompetent California police who don't know how to ensnare terrorists on the Canadian border.

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    [QUOTE=sackdance]Caveat emptor. $1.2T bought liberals eons upon lifetimes of whining, bemoaning, and dramatics. It's a nice soundbite, one-point-two-[I]TRILLION[/I]! You'd think the applied subtraction to our economy would have a severe impact on our economy right? Oh, wait, I forgot, the co-op market is soft in Boston. Oh, the financial hell Bush & Co has wrought.

    A-holes. Can the lad (or lass) who cannot find work please pipe up? Please? Where is he? We need some testimony from a victim of this ruined economy we're suffering from.[/QUOTE]


    actually the $1.2T x 10 bought the rats a voting block through entitlement programs... ;)

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    [QUOTE=sackdance]Caveat emptor. $1.2T bought liberals eons upon lifetimes of whining, bemoaning, and dramatics. It's a nice soundbite, one-point-two-[I]TRILLION[/I]! You'd think the applied subtraction to our economy would have a severe impact on our economy right? Oh, wait, I forgot, the co-op market is soft in Boston. Oh, the financial hell Bush & Co has wrought.

    A-holes. Can the lad (or lass) who cannot find work please pipe up? Please? Where is he? We need some [B]testimony from a victim of this ruined economy we're suffering from[/B].[/QUOTE]

    Over 3,000 of them are dead and can't speak for themselves any longer. Ask their parents. Ask cindy Sheehan. Ask Tillman's brother. Ask the young lady I saw at the airport with melted arms.

    Better yet, I'll get some testimony when I stop by the VA hospital this week.

    I supposse the returning vets will get a job a Wendy's.....

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]Over 3,000 of them are dead and can't speak for themselves any longer. Ask their parents. Ask cindy Sheehan. Ask Tillman's brother. Ask the young lady I saw at the airport with melted arms.

    Better yet, I'll get some testimony when I stop by the VA hospital this week.

    I supposse the returning vets will get a job a Wendy's.....[/QUOTE]


    ask Gary Qualls...

    oh, that's right- his son died in Iraq yet Mr. Qualls supports the mission and supports the president so he'll be dismissed as his opinion doesn't mean sh!t...

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]ask Gary Qualls...

    oh, that's right- his son died in Iraq yet Mr. Qualls supports the mission and supports the president so he'll be dismissed as his opinion doesn't mean sh!t...[/QUOTE]

    Better than that I will ask Jim Webb. His son is still alive and serving in Nam, I mean Iraq....

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]too bad the commander and chief in the late 90's didn't spend a fraction of that money in the late 90's to eliminate terrorists.....we wouldn't be in this mess never mind the gozillions lost on 9-11...

    ....[/QUOTE]


    WTF DOES TERRORISM/TERRORISTS HAVE TO DO WITH IRAQ?!?


    Other than Bush, a terrorist (look up the definition and tell me he doesn't fit: [url]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/terrorism)[/url], invading it of course...

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=Tanginius]WTF DOES TERRORISM/TERRORISTS HAVE TO DO WITH IRAQ?!?


    Other than Bush, a terrorist (look up the definition and tell me he doesn't fit: [url]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/terrorism)[/url], invading it of course...[/QUOTE]

    ARE YOU FUQIN SERIOUS?!?!?!?

    Iraq was not a terrorist nation?? they did not support terrorism??

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=New York Mick]I was hoping it was going to be a super hot chick.[/QUOTE]


    LOL

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