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Thread: The Unforgivable Acts Of an Administration

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    The Unforgivable Acts Of an Administration

    [B][SIZE="4"]The $2 Trillion Nightmare [/SIZE][/B]

    By BOB HERBERT
    [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/opinion/04herbert.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=todayspaper&pagewanted=print[/url]

    We’ve been hearing a lot about “Saturday Night Live” and the fun it has been having with the presidential race. But hardly a whisper has been heard about a Congressional hearing in Washington last week on a topic that could have been drawn, in all its tragic monstrosity, from the theater of the absurd.

    [B]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.[/B]

    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.

    Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”

    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. Mr. Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia, has been working with a colleague at Harvard, Linda Bilmes, to document, among other things, some of the less obvious costs of the war. 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.

    [B]“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.”[/B]

    [B]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.[/B]

    Even the most basic wartime information is difficult to come by. Mr. Stiglitz, who has written a new book with Ms. Bilmes called “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” said they had to go to veterans’ groups, who in turn had to resort to the Freedom of Information Act, just to find out how many Americans had been injured in Iraq.

    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.”

    [B]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.”[/B]

    [B]Some former presidents — Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower — were quoted at the hearing on the need for accountability and shared sacrifice during wartime. But this is the 21st century. That ancient rhetoric can hardly be expected to compete for media attention, even in a time of war, with the giddy fun of S.N.L.[/B]

    It’s a new era.
    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 03-04-2008 at 04:18 PM.

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    Iraqis want to kill us!! Why do you hate America?

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    [QUOTE=Press_Coverage;2411099]Iraqis want to kill us!! Why do you hate America?[/QUOTE]

    I know, I know, I should act like a few of the right wing fascists at this site and place my head firmly in the sand. I'll act like them and complain about entitlements but ignore the $2 Trillion dollars of American money going to Halliburton, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing etc. And do you think some of that money could have went to Walter Reed or other V.A. Hospitals to help the heroes who fight for our country? oh no, as long as the no-bid contracts keep coming all is right.

    So in this election lets worry about lapel pins, photos, elemenary school essays, all important issues. :zzz::zzz:

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    Read this earlier today... a very powerful column.

    Of course it will be dismissed as "letting the terrorists win" or "not realizing the threat the Iraqis were" or my personal favorite "isn't the world a better place without Saddam?"

    Trillions of dollars.... trillions... to Iraq.

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    [QUOTE=bigalbarracuda;2411149]Read this earlier today... a very powerful column.

    Of course it will be dismissed as "letting the terrorists win" or "not realizing the threat the Iraqis were" or my personal favorite "isn't the world a better place without Saddam?"

    Trillions of dollars.... trillions... to Iraq.[/QUOTE]

    My favorite is when you get a poster like goofy [B]Come Back to Earth[/B] who reads this and tries to hijack the thread. They will drivel something about the author being a communist or that he never wears a lapel pin so he hates America. :zzz::zzz::zzz:

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    [QUOTE=bigalbarracuda;2411149]Read this earlier today... a very powerful column.

    Of course it will be dismissed as "letting the terrorists win" or "not realizing the threat the Iraqis were" or my personal favorite "isn't the world a better place without Saddam?"

    Trillions of dollars.... trillions... to Iraq.[/QUOTE]


    Let's not dismiss the third trillion (obediently offered without question by U.S. tax payers) via the Pentagon's contract process. ... directly to U.S. corporate entities who support the occupation and "rebuilding effort." ...

    The great wealth transfer continues.
    Last edited by Press_Coverage; 03-04-2008 at 04:26 PM.

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    George bush killed the dollar.

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    George Bush created Terrorism, Global Warming, and Hurricane Katrina.

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    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2411323]George Bush created Terrorism, Global Warming, and Hurricane Katrina.[/QUOTE]


    Well, no... but he did ignore them all ...

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    [QUOTE=Press_Coverage;2411342]Well, no... but he did ignore them all ...[/QUOTE]


    Well, only two things on that list are real and I hardly think he ignored them.

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    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2411351]Well, only two things on that list are real and I hardly think he ignored them.[/QUOTE]

    Besides the fact that your original insinuation is precisely what isn't real...

    All three -- global warming, terrorism and Katrina -- are real, and he most certainly did ignore each.
    Last edited by Press_Coverage; 03-04-2008 at 05:51 PM.

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    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2411351]Well, only two things on that list are real and I hardly think he ignored them.[/QUOTE]

    despite the Bush administration's gross manipulation of terrorism to power grab, it is ignorant on your part to pretend it isn't real.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2411367]despite the Bush administration's gross manipulation of terrorism to power grab, it is ignorant on your part to pretend it isn't real.[/QUOTE]

    What happened to posting your threads ***like this***?

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    [QUOTE=HDCentStOhio;2411509]What happened to posting your threads ***like this***?[/QUOTE]

    when you post a thread topic that centers around sending [B]trillions[/B] of American dollars overseas to nation build, it does not need any special highlighting.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2411515]when you post a thread topic that centers around sending [B]trillions[/B] of American dollars overseas to nation build, it does not need any special highlighting.[/QUOTE]

    Actually, I'd been meaning to talk to you about that....

    None of your threads (or anyone elses) need "special highlighting".

    So please save me the effort, and stop doing that. Thank you.:D

    As for the issue at hand.......an argument can be made that the Iraq War was rightious in it's motivations. However, no argument can be made that the War has been severely mishandled from day 1, and that the costs of the War, and the Nation Building that has gone along with it, has far outstripped anyone (even the most loyalist Bushy) could have imagined.

    However, I DO belive the left bares some blame here for these tactics and costs.....as it is your side who has effectively tied the hands of our warmaking power via political correctness and our genrally "soft" attitudes today. There was a day when the U.S would and could have invaded Iraq, killed the Dictator, obliterated their army and insurgency into submission, and left them a Millitary Overseer and Occupation force and Martial law to get their **** in gear.

    But today? We are not allowed to kill, not allowed to fight, we have to make friends, and win hearts and minds. No, today we have to ensure that every person, terrorist murder or not, gets the same rights and trials and lawyers we get, and that we win their hearts with love and kittens.

    Bush is a failure. And so is the Lefts way of dealing with threats. Screw both of ya, if you ask me. You're both bad for America.

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    I'm still trying to figure out what kind of stupidity lead to this mess. SOmeone explain why the dems voted for this?

    Honestly, I hope our friend press_coverage is right and this war was simply an effort to secure dwindling oil reserves. Otherwise, I'm completely baffled by it..

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2411941]Actually, I'd been meaning to talk to you about that....

    None of your threads (or anyone elses) need "special highlighting".

    So please save me the effort, and stop doing that. Thank you.:D

    As for the issue at hand.......an argument can be made that the Iraq War was rightious in it's motivations. However, no argument can be made that the War has been severely mishandled from day 1, and that the costs of the War, and the Nation Building that has gone along with it, has far outstripped anyone (even the most loyalist Bushy) could have imagined.

    However, I DO belive the left bares some blame here for these tactics and costs.....as it is your side who has effectively tied the hands of our warmaking power via political correctness and our genrally "soft" attitudes today. There was a day when the U.S would and could have invaded Iraq, killed the Dictator, obliterated their army and insurgency into submission, and left them a Millitary Overseer and Occupation force and Martial law to get their **** in gear.

    But today? We are not allowed to kill, not allowed to fight, we have to make friends, and win hearts and minds. No, today we have to ensure that every person, terrorist murder or not, gets the same rights and trials and lawyers we get, and that we win their hearts with love and kittens.

    Bush is a failure. And so is the Lefts way of dealing with threats. Screw both of ya, if you ask me. You're both bad for America.[/QUOTE]

    Sorry about the highlighting of the threads.

    As far as your comments about the war, I have a major difference with many of republicans and some democrats. I do not believe that we enter these conflicts for the reasons that are professed to us. I believe that we are mostly involved for war profiteering. I could start an entire thread (minus the highlights ;)) showing evidence about this. As a result, I do not give our leaders the benefit of the doubt, when we get stuck in these quagmires, that it was just an error in judgement, faulty intelligence, or poor war planning.

    You could make an argument that the motivation for the Iraq war was justified if you take believe that they were telling us the truth. I do not.

    By the way, we do agree on one issue; the democrats are absolutly part of the blame for this war. But I place blame on them for not having the guts to stand up to Bush and end this war. They were elected to the majority in Congress mostly to end the war, as documented by the exit polls. My belief is that, in the end, most of the democrats and republicans serve the same masters. They are ExxonMobile, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, General electric, Ratheon etc, etc. If anyone wants to debate me on the idea that our government is tied to war profiteering, I would welcome it.
    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 03-04-2008 at 10:15 PM.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2412053]Sorry about the highlighting of the threads.[/QUOTE]

    Was (and is) not a big deal in any form. Just figured I'd mention it since it was brought up. :D

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2412053]Sorry about the highlighting of the threads.

    As far as your comments about the war, I have a major difference with many of republicans and some democrats. I do not believe that we enter these conflicts for the reasons that are professed to us. I believe that we are mostly involved for war profiteering. I could start an entire thread (minus the highlights ;)) showing evidence about this. As a result, I do not give our leaders the benefit of the doubt, when we get stuck in these quagmires, that it was just an error in judgement, faulty intelligence, or poor war planning.

    You could make an argument that the motivation for the Iraq war was justified if you take believe that they were telling us the truth. I do not.

    [B]By the way, we do agree on one issue; the democrats are absolutly part of the blame for this war. But I place blame on them for not having the guts to stand up to Bush and end this war. They were elected to the majority in Congress mostly to end the war, as documented by the exit polls. My belief is that, in the end, most of the democrats and republicans serve the same masters. They are ExxonMobile, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, General electric, Ratheon etc, etc.[/B] If anyone wants to debate me on the idea that our government is tied to war profiteering, I would welcome it.[/QUOTE]

    It's called a shadow gov't. The "democracy" we live under is a joke. The differences between candidates are a few thousand dollars and a few hundred lives. It sounds like a lot until you look at the grand total. And no matter whether you lean left or right, we need to start making our own options and soon, because the ones that they give us do not serve us.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2411941]

    However, I DO belive the left bares some blame here for these tactics and costs.....as it is your side who has effectively tied the hands of our warmaking power via political correctness and our genrally "soft" attitudes today. There was a day when the U.S would and could have invaded Iraq, killed the Dictator, obliterated their army and insurgency into submission, and left them a Millitary Overseer and Occupation force and Martial law to get their **** in gear.

    But today? We are not allowed to kill, not allowed to fight, we have to make friends, and win hearts and minds. No, today we have to ensure that every person, terrorist murder or not, gets the same rights and trials and lawyers we get, and that we win their hearts with love and kittens.

    Bush is a failure. And so is the Lefts way of dealing with threats. Screw both of ya, if you ask me. You're both bad for America.[/QUOTE]

    This has been the worst job of selling a war...EVER! Part of a war time presidents job is to sell the war so even people with a conscience can give the ok to bomb a foreign nation "back to the stone age." Selling a war is a hard thing to do now in the information age. That's where the mishandling of the war started. The Bush administration had fear and bloody vengeance to use after 9/11 but they fumbled the ball. Actually if managed properly, Guilianni would still be a nominee.

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