Saturday, January 13, 2007

BushCo: Economic Morons or Just Plain Liars?

First they told us that the Iraq Debacle would pay for itself. Then they fired one of their own for daring to say that the cost of the war would approach as much as $100 billion. They've been wrong on everything they've told us about Iraq from the beginning. But there are those who excuse such buffoonery. Hell, even Clinton thought Saddam had WMD, right?

But the one thing you'd expect the "adults" in BushCo to know about is Economics, right? After all the Neoclown cabal behind and tentacled through this administration contain some of the greatest economic and political minds to come out of the University of Chicago. Friedman and Strauss devotees litter the Whitehouse lawn like so many empty Coors Lite cans found in the parking lot after a NASCAR race.

How is it that all these "geniuses" got this thing so incredibly wrong? Are they really that stupid, or did they do it on purpose?

A recent article by Charles M. Young sheds some light on the subject

Congress has spent more than $350 billion on the conflict, including the $50 billion appropriated for 2007.
But according to one of the world's leading economists, that is just a fraction of what Iraq will actually wind up costing American taxpayers. Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, estimates the true cost of the war at $2.267 trillion. That includes the government's past and future spending for the war itself ($725 billion), health care and disability benefits for veterans ($127 billion), and hidden increases in defense spending ($160 billion). It also includes losses the economy will suffer from injured vets ($355 billion) and higher oil prices ($450 billion).

In an interview with Stiglitz, he also made the following statements:

• War is a lousy form of economic stimulus. Think of the Nepalese contractors doing work in Iraq. They spend their money in Iraq or Nepal -- not in America.

• Because the war drove up oil prices, we are also giving more money to Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. It follows that we are not investing that money

• When you educate young people for twelve to eighteen years, you're investing a lot of money in them. If you then have them killed, maimed and debilitated, you destroy capital.

• If you're wounded, the government pays you only twenty percent of what you would have earned if you could work. The disability payment is a budget cost, but the economy misses the salary you would have been making now that you're not able to do anything.

• (Rumsfeld) wanted to lessen the impact of the war on the military, so he used private contractors, who are more expensive. What he didn't realize was that he was setting up a competition that has driven up the price of a soldier.

• One quarter of the war budget would have fixed Social Security for the next seventy-five years.

• (The administration) did do a calculation of the cost. They were just off. Like every other aspect of their analysis of this war, they were either deliberately misleading or incompetent.

• (Responding to a question about Paul Wolfowitz’ claim that the war would pay for itself with oil revenue): You have to wonder: What reward should he receive for such acumen? Bush made him president of the World Bank.

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