Wars Are Expensive, But Why Should They Be the Standard By Which Other Spending Is Judged?

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One of the conservative arguments against the stimulus bill making its way through Congress is that it will "cost more than all the wars in US history."

Now, first of all, this is untrue. If you adjust the cost of World War II for inflation, it goes from $288 billion to somewhere around $3.6 trillion. (At least, that's what I learned from sites I found through Google. I didn't want to link to any of the sites providing these numbers, because they're mostly wacky right-wing platforms.)

Or, as this post from the Daily Kos explains, the "war on terror" has already cost more than the stimulus package--and it's not even over.

But what I want to point out is this:

saying, "the stimulus is going to cost more than any war has ever cost," can be paraphrased this way:

"We are going to spend more in an effort to heal our economy, begin to address the problems with our health care, provide for our children's education, feed the hungry, house the homeless, and repair and strengthen our crumbling infrastructure, than we ever ever spent to kill people."

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that's so bad, and frankly I wish it were true.

I admit, I spend a lot more of my income on things like food, education, clothing, housing, transportation, etc, than I spend on killing, maiming and undermining my enemies.

I mean, what's YOUR budget for contract killings? How many soldiers do YOU employ to attack and protect you from your enemies?

We SHOULD spend more on investing in our own country and our own citizens than we spend killing other people in other countries, if you ask me.

Let's hope that we never again spend nearly as much waging war as we spend taking care of each other.

After all, that's what Jesus would do.

p.s. Also see this analysis from the Daily Kos demonstrating that the New Deal actually did work. An excerpt:

The oddest idea is that "putting the nation on a war footing" was the cure that finally ended the depression when the New Deal couldn't get the job done. It's something that gets repeated every time this tall tale is told, because even Republicans realize that the Great Depression did end. They just have to think of some way to give credit to something other than Democrats.... But if they really believe that wars are stimulating, you have to ask: why aren't we stimulated? We have two wars going on. We've invested lots of capital -- including the kind that lives, breathes, and has family -- but that doesn't seem to be shooting the GDP skyward. Maybe Republicans think we need to take on a bigger target. Would a war with Iran get the stimulus working? Or is this stimulus more China-sized?

3 Comments

Right ON, Holly. I've been shouting similar things at my radio all week.

I keep hearing Republicans leaders being quoted, saying things like "The Democrats are going to cost us money." Oh, yeah, tell me that nobody spent the nation's money like a lot of drunken sailors for the past eight years, when Republicans had it all their way?!

Exasperating. For such a lot of self-proclaimed Christians, I can't see any Christian teaching being put to use. "By their fruits you shall know them." Harumph. I don't think you can call war a fruit.

We should be proud to be spending more on healing, as you put it, than on war - not shamed by it.

You are soooo right.

Jon Stewart talked about this on the Daily Show the other day - he showed a clip of some Republican (senator? Something like that) who was giving a presentation about the stimulus bill. The guy said, "If you took the money and piled it on top of each other in $100 bills, it would be almost 39 miles high!" And Jon Stewart said something like, "I don't think that's what they're planning on doing with it..."

It's just like what they did with terrorism and gay marriage - try to distract everyone from what's really going on by playing on fear.

R & J--I know I'm not the only person saying this, but sometimes it seems like there aren't very many of us. Amazing how easy we are to drown out.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on February 8, 2009 3:18 PM.

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