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Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler » Nobel Prize Winner Succumbs to Bush Derangement Syndrome

From last week’s news

Iraq war may cost US $2.6 trillion

The cost of the Iraq war could top $US2 trillion ($A2.6 trillion), far above the White House’s pre-war projections, according to a new study.

The confusion over the amount (2.6 trillion US$ versus 2 trillion US$) is just the beginning of the absurdities.

The study takes into account long-term costs, such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded US soldiers.

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes have included disability payments for the 16,000 wounded US soldiers, about 20 per cent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries. Professor Stiglitz and Ms Bilmes say US taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after the country’s troops withdraw. “Even taking a conservative approach, we have been surprised at how large they are,” the study said.

“We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed $US1 trillion.”

I can state with an even higher degree of confidence that these people need to put down the bongs and swear off the weed.

They frump up the costs from the higher price of oil, which they try to attribute to the Iraq war instead of supply and demand. How exactly were world oil prices impacted by the Iraq war, whose output remains about the same as it would’ve been without a war? Iraq’s Nov 2005 production was 1.85 million barrels per day. Their 2002 production was 2.03 million barrels per day, a difference of 180,000 barrels a day, an amount pumped by Oklahoma or New Mexico alone, or Kansas and North Dakota combined. At times Iraq’s postwar output has exceeded its prewar output, yet world prices never plunged back into the twenties.

The study is here. It starts out by saying

NOT TO BE QUOTED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHORS

I’ll cite 17 USC § 107 about fair use and note that if they didn’t want it quoted they shouldn’t have published it on the Internet. Their contribution to the annals of innumerate peacenik dreck includes this ironic phrase.

Providing even rough order of magnitude estimates of the costs turns out to be very difficult, for a number of reasons.

Namely the stupidity of the authors. For example, in their health cost analysis they say:

In the Iraq conflict, more depleted uranium was used in the bombing of Baghdad than in the Persian Gulf conflict; therefore the Iraq war veterans will be easily eligible for disability claims for any health problems that they can link to exposure.

False. No US bombs use depleted uranium, which would be a breathtakingly stupid waste of an expensive material that makes a perfectly good high-velocity penetrator. Trying to machine a bomb casing out of DU would be exercise in futility, which is why even our bunker busters are made of maraging steel. Not to mention the fact that DU is about as radioactive as dirt, which is why we use it as radiation shielding and even as ballastic protection by armoring our tanks with it.

Somehow they compare the number of troops in the Iraq War to the Gulf War and I suppose some budget breaking payout for an imaginary “Iraq War syndrome” to inflate the health care costs far above a trillion dollars. In a much more detailed study from the Brookings Institution, the cost of the wounded was calculated at $18.2 Billion. Linda Bilmes somehow calculated this cost as $1.3 Trillion - 71 times higher. If this cost per wounded soldier had held for the Vietnam war (153,000 wounded), the wounded from Vietnam would’ve cost us $12.5 Trillion dollars, and Bill Clinton’s VA Budget would’ve been $400 billion a year, not the paltry reality of just $43.2 billion, most of which still went to WW-II and Korea veterans. For more perspective, her figure implies that John Kerry’s medical bills for three band-aids summed to $81.6 million dollars.

In short, we were already spending billions to care for veterans ($70.8 billion this year), because we have tens of millions of them. Currently the VA supplied benefits to 2.68 million of them, and the 16,000 personnel wound in Iraq will add 0.59% to our total VA caseload. Further, the military fatality rate in 2004, during a war, is only about 55% higher than it was during Clinton’s first year. Total military fatalities under Bush are still about 500 short of Clinton’s total. I would also point out that to hit $1.3 Trillion in health care costs for 16,000 wounded soldiers, whose average age is about 25, would be about $81 million per wounded veteran, or $2 million a year in, um, physical therapy costs till they’re 65. To run up such a bill, each soldier could father two sets of wildly premature triplets per year, at government expense, for every year of the rest of their natural lives.

Let their research serve as a prime example of how Bush Derangement Syndrome can turn a Nobel Prize winning economist into a babbling idiot. It’s unfortunate that there’s not a Nobel Prize in Psychology, or the resulting insights might win.

48 Responses to “Nobel Prize Winner Succumbs to Bush Derangement Syndrome”
  1. Unregistered Comment by Sir George UNITED STATES

    Daaaaayum, George! That’s a Stadium-sized Bullshit Flag of Ass-tronomical Proportions™!!! :what:

    Bravissimo!

  2. caveman82952 Comment by caveman82952 UNITED STATES

    I know it’s my personal bias, but every time I see the words Nobel Prize I think of some Euroweenie communist. In truth nobody knows the numbers, but black speculation fuels the paranoia of many. I personally have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER shelling out every nickel any vet may need to recuperate, if possible. As it is they don’t help these folks enough. I’ve visited guys in VA hospitals, talking about the monkeys on their backs. Some are virtual nut houses. What I can do and will do is donate as generously as I can. I also write for the local paper here in town, my latest article a trubute to a young man home on disability leave recovering from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. He wants to go back. The VA guys here in town know I’m an easy touch. A real sucker, I suppose. Disabled American Vets, Veterans of foreign wars, you bet I am. Here comes Kent, he’s good for twenty bucks. If I can donate a weeks pay per year is my goal. Not a lot but something. Men I never knew and men owing me nothing gave this to me.
    But as for numbers, and economic theory. I know little about it. I do know that most predictions don’t seem to pan out. As for spending money on our Vets………count me in, whatever the cost! :thumbup:

  3. MCPO Airdale Comment by MCPO Airdale UNITED STATES

    As a disabled vet, I demand my $2M a year, in cash. . .$50s and $100s please. :whatever:

  4. caveman82952 Comment by caveman82952 UNITED STATES

    :lol:

  5. LC Ranger 6 Comment by LC Ranger 6 UNITED STATES

    Sir George you’re wrong. They do make depleted uranium bombs. They come in 5 million pounders and 10 million pounders.

    Now when we develop an aircraft that can lift say… Kentucky, then we’ll be able to use them.

    :lol:

  6. Unregistered Comment by L.C. DUEX UNITED STATES

    Euh, Sir George, far be it for me to try to correct one ouf our esteemed emperor’s henchmen…

    However, the article mentions “$US2 trillion ($A2.6 trillion)” You will note my emphasis of the A. In my recollection, $A means Australian dollars. This would be consistent with the article having an Australian URL.

    Not to say that the article is not idiotarian, but this would explain the confusion regarding the $ amount.

  7. SoCalOilMan Comment by SoCalOilMan UNITED STATES

    caveman you nailed it right off:

    I personally have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER shelling out every nickel any vet may need to recuperate

    These people put everything on the line for all of us back home and deserve the best we can give them.

    As for the study :cuckoo: .

  8. B.C., Imperial Torturer™ Comment by B.C., Imperial Torturer™ UNITED STATES

    LC Duex, you’re correct. But, they should have put that in the headline, also.

    Still doesn’t make the idiotic numbers add up to anything resembling reality, as far as the amount per wounded vet is concerned.

    :cuckoo:

  9. Unregistered Comment by Sir George UNITED STATES

    LC Duex, that’s what’s interesting. The headline says

    Iraq war may cost US $2.6 trillion

    US $2.6 trillion is Australian $3.4 trillion, yet the very next line says

    The cost of the Iraq war could top $US2 trillion ($A2.6 trillion), far above the White House’s pre-war projections, according to a new study.

    So are they sayinig the cost is US$ 2.6T = A$3.4T or US$ 2.0T = A$2.6T?

  10. sig94 Comment by sig94 UNITED STATES

    Is this part of the same study that shows that sharks still prowl the oceans in the wakes left by slave ships?

  11. Unregistered Comment by 4thelittleguy UNITED STATES

    If it weren’t for looney academics like this spending their lives churning out “theoretical” numbers about President Bush’s policies…what would the left have to talk about?

  12. LC Ranger 6 Comment by LC Ranger 6 UNITED STATES

    If it weren’t for looney academics like this spending their lives churning out “theoretical” numbers about President Bush’s policies…what would the left have to talk about?

    Oh they’d wile away the time deciding which of the sick, elderly, infirm, retarded, poor and general non contributors to society (in thier opinion) should be euthanized in order to free up more health care and other resources for the brilliant minds that came up with these ideas.

  13. Unregistered Comment by L.C. DUEX UNITED STATES

    Geoge:

    I hadn’t noticed what it said in the headline.
    See, that’s why I would never try to correct one of our esteemed emperor’s henchmen trusted confidants.

  14. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi sir george,

    US $2.6 trillion is Australian $3.4 trillion, yet the very next line says

    no sir george:

    2/ 0.7535 =2.6

    i will post in a bit, but 24 is on…

  15. Darth Bacon Comment by Darth Bacon UNITED STATES

    60% of people know you can make figures say anything you want.

    - Homer Simpson

    Apparently Homer is due a Nobel, because he figured out something that asshats like the “authors” of this “survey” wish the rest of us would forget- that specious interpretation of data can be easily debunked by even a casual examiner.

  16. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi sir george:

    False. No US bombs use depleted uranium, which would be a breathtakingly stupid waste of an expensive material that makes a perfectly good high-velocity penetrator. Trying to machine a bomb casing out of DU would be exercise in futility, which is why even our bunker busters are made of maraging steel. Not to mention the fact that DU is about as radioactive as dirt, which is why we use it as radiation shielding and even as ballastic protection by armoring our tanks with it.

    let us grant that the use of du is for penetrative shell casings and armour. i wonder how you reconcile your subsequent claims with the info i saw from the WHO report on depleted uranium use in kosovo which on p6 makes very clear that depleted uranium ionizes at the high temperatures it experiences when it hits targets, with large % of particles being inhalable. depleted uranium is about 60% radioactive as natural uranium, which makes it weak. consistent with the radioactive nature of the amminition ionization and breathability, its presence in the kosovo campaign has been positively correlated with increased rates of cancer. the authors of this and other reports are less sanguine than you as to how harmless this material is. granted that some reports may be a bit sensationaistic, even supporters of its use grant that it can be very bad news:

    “Depleted uranium is not a significant health hazard unless it is taken into the body. External exposure to radiation from depleted uranium is generally not a major concern because the alpha particles emitted by its isotopes travel only a few centimeters in air or can be stopped by a sheet of paper. Also, the uranium-235 that remains in depleted uranium emits only a small amount of low-energy gamma radiation. However, if allowed to enter the body, depleted uranium, like natural uranium, has the potential for both chemical and radiological toxicity with the two important target organs being the kidneys and the lungs. The most likely pathways by which uranium could enter the body are ingestion and inhalation. The relative contribution of each pathway to the total uptake into the body depends on the physical and chemical nature of the uranium, as well as the level and duration of exposure.”

  17. Unregistered Comment by Clef UNITED STATES

    Linda Bilmes somehow calculated this cost as $1.3 Trillion - 71 times higher.

    Typical. Keep in mind that these are the same libs who say we killed 150,000 civilians during this war so far…about 5 times higher then the actual death toll, and 150 times what was inflicted by the US. Somehow they enjoy thinking that falsly bloated numbers supports their efforts.

  18. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi sir george,
    the original link to the stiglitz study is no longer working. a new link that works is here. i will read it, and get back to you on what i think.
    take care

  19. SoCalOilMan Comment by SoCalOilMan UNITED STATES

    “Depleted uranium is not a significant health hazard unless it is taken into the body.

    A-10 strafing…Brrraaapp…”I think that tankers health been significantly affected by a sudden intake of depleted uranium.”

  20. Unregistered Comment by Sir George UNITED STATES

    Thanks CAS. The WHO report didn’t mention any cancers, that I could find. A vastly larger health threat would be from the burning insulation, plactics, paints, lubricants, and hydraulic fluids in the tanks we toasted.

  21. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi all,

    first thing:
    the issue about what a life is worth: stiglitz doesn’t appear–on a cursory look at least–to be disagreeing with the brookings paper you referred to–12 billion as opposed to 16 billion. he does appear to be including some ideas that the brookings paper does not–for example–that soldiers serving in iraq are grossly underpaid, when viewed through the wage lens of hired security contractors who are ex-armed forces. i have no idea where you get the $1.3 trillion figure you quote for the cost of the soldiers injuries. could you point that out to me in the paper–i can’t see it at all. as i said above, stiglitz and bilmes use the brookings paper as the basis for their estimates, with some modifications.

    some differences are due to the fact that stiglitz & bilmes give a value of $46,000 to wages lost by reserve personnel, rather than 33,000 (p14), to take into account of benefits. they used police officers and firemen as their mean. also, they included an additional 21% to the injured for other serious wounds, rather than just the 26% with brain injuries as needing the highest level of care (p16).

    further, i am wondering if a major discrepancy between the two papers is whether stiglitz et al look at present value calculations to longer time horizons than do brookings–though they both use a discount rate of 5%. that doesn’t appear to be it.

    the differences accumulate on what brookings did not consider. the brookings paper doesn’t examine some things which are real economic costs–namely, the interest payments on the national debt, p12, since this war is being financed entirely by accumulation of debt. or accelerated levels of depreciation of military hardware that is being used in iraq–its a more punishing environment than that back here.

    some differences are due to lower calculation of benefits, as in the no-fly zone savings. (p11).

    a major difference is that stiglitz does take on the task of suggesting that oil prices were negatively affected by the war. the brookings paper does not make any attempt to calculate this. the brookings paper comes up with a cost of over a trillion dollars to the US and its allies by 2015. world oil demand, 2005: 82.63 million barrels per day. short run world oil deamnd price elasticity = .0001 to .09 and long run elasticities of 0.2 to 0.6.

    what this means is that in the short run, small shifts in supply can lead to large shifts in price–something we have in fact seen recently. also, sir george mentioned that the discrepancy in production is only 200,000 barrels. however, this is not the issue, i think. as this article makes clear, p3, just because iraq produces 2.05 million barrels a day in march 2005, doesn’t mean that it exports that much–namely 1.35 million barrels in that time (due, i guess, to sabotage of oil pipelines). that is probably a more useful measure. i wonder what those figures are for the time periods in question? admittedly, stiglitz uses different sources from those that you quote sir george. i don’t know how accurate they are.

    finally, stiglitz and bilmes asks us to consider putting the money that we have spent in iraq to alternative uses that may have had a higher rate of return.

    all of these things–which are genuinely economic costs can be genuinely counted. and even though sir george doesn’t like stiglitz’s calims, there are good reasons why he got a nobel prize in economics.

  22. Unregistered Comment by Sir George UNITED STATES

    Cas, this report from BP is worth bookmarking.

    World oil consumption (excluding the former Soviet Union) has gone up from 76.25 mbbls/day in 2001 to 80.75 million in 2004, and most of the growth was in Asia. It’s insane to blame the price increases on a 180,000 barrel shortfall in one country when consumption jumped by 4,500,000 barrels and supply increased from 74.82 to 80.62 million barrels /day, a jump of 5.8 million barrels, an increase 32 times larger than the decrease in Iraqi production.

    One of the complaints in the Brookings article was that Linda Blimes even assumed a constant value of future dollars, something that wouldn’t fly in a basic college class.

  23. LC Mike in Chi Comment by LC Mike in Chi UNITED STATES

    cas, PLEASE, could ya’ fix your shift key problem.
    You’d think someone with as much library time as you would appreciate the joys of higher(case?) learning.

  24. Darth Bacon Comment by Darth Bacon UNITED STATES

    Linda Blimes would be laughed out of a high school AP course…

    But we know that won’t stop the moonbats who feast on turds like this. The same morons who screech about body armor for our soldiers while our soldiers lament how much body armor they schlepp around are sharpening their partisan little fangs over this, claiming once again that the evil Bu$hitler is jeopardizing the same troops they gleefully mischaracterize as brainwashed KillBots.

    I’m so fucking sick of this shit. There’s a war happening, you assholes.

  25. Darth Bacon Comment by Darth Bacon UNITED STATES

    Man,

    These Gravatar assholes are fucking up. I changed the “Bender” thing for my personally-composed “Pig in Darth Vader Costume” months ago…

  26. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    Well now folks, that oh so caring moonbat emeritus Walter Cronkite has this to say: “We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis after the hurricane disaster that Mother Nature has not treated us well and we find ourselves missing the amount of money it takes to help these poor people out of their homeless situation and rebuild some of our most important cities in the United States,” he said. “Therefore, we are going to have to bring our troops home

    Does this mean that hurricanes Katrina & Rita was Allah’s way of saying, “don’t kill the terrorist towel heads“?… :lol:

  27. lc ima mommy Comment by lc ima mommy

    LC Mike, you took the words right out of my mouth! Cas, it may seem like nitpicking (and no, I’m not ready to take over Caspian’s post as Fly Shit Inspector!) but you obviously took a lot of time researching you responses to George…as I read them it was hard to concentrate b/c the lack of ANY capitalization had me thinking ‘Hmmmm…this cas guy types like my teenager!’ I don’t know. It just takes away from the credibility of your responses. Not trying to pick a fight I promise!

  28. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    cas (#21) says: “finally, stiglitz and bilmes asks us to consider putting the money that we have spent in iraq to alternative uses that may have had a higher rate of return“…

    Well cas old son, putting money on the country’s protection has a seriously high rate of return, don’t you think?

    Remember Stiglitz and Bilmes are essentially clueless regarding the war against terrorism as their witless screed suggests…

  29. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi all,

    i am an email user from way back when non-capitalization was the norm. i apologize, and I will try to do better at some point, though first thing in the morning! Having a microsoft grammar and spelling checker built into the comments writer would help alot…

    hi sir george,

    One of the complaints in the Brookings article was that Linda Blimes even assumed a constant value of future dollars, something that wouldn’t fly in a basic college class.

    on p6, the authors make clear they use a discount rate of 4% for disability pay cash flows and 5% for discounting the cost of paying for injuries p16. they also look at the alternative uses of monies spent on the war as investments, and discount that cash flow at 4%, p27 they also follow the lead of the brookings paper. i couldn’t find evidence to support your claim, so where exactly do you see evidence for this claim that you advance in their paper?

    i will bookmark the bp report and check it out (after posting). i think the issue i am trying to make here is that small fluctuations in oil supply have big effects in the short run, due to short run inelasticity issues. also, that the shortfall in exportation from iraq of oil is much bigger than 200,000 barrels, due to guerilla activity on the iraqi pipelines.

    hi lc darth bacon,

    Linda Blimes would be laughed out of a high school AP course…

    this is an interesting claim, but why exactly? this appears to be a careful and thoughtful paper, and one that i could set for my own class.

    stiglitz and bilmes are not saying that the war is not worth doing–they are agnostic on that issue–as is the brookings paper i might add–but the point of their paper is to ask us to understand what the real cost of the war is. there are reasons why mississippi and louisiana are not getting much funding (unless that has gotten through congress) for post katrina and rita clean-up. that costs money, money that has been allocated elsewhere.

    i agree with juandos that an argument can be made about the benefits of this war. but i also believe that if we are trumpeting the benefits of the war, we should be very clear also, as to the real and total costs associated with it. sober and rational reflection requires it.

  30. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    Well cas (#29) I do believe you are making economic points (albeit, good ones) regarding oil that might just hold water except for one little dark cloud you are forgetting to consider, external political forces… (btw being old bbs’er myself I understand the, “no” caps:grin:)

    Consider the load of :poop: the tree huggers & root kissers and their allies are trying to foist off on the American public regarding ANWR… This effects both the elasticity and the price of all energy commodities…

    Secondly, I personally have a problem with ANYTHING & EVERYTHING put out by liberals and its liberals that staff the Brookings Institute…

  31. Unregistered Comment by Dicklist1 UNITED STATES

    Well, someone has to give MSM is stupid evening news fodder- and what better than a backwards and biased study connected to “Harvard”?

    Linda Vargas: “And in other news tonight, the war in Iraq is expected to top 1 billion trillion gazillion dollars as the United States is using expensive depleted uranium radioactive child killing bombs by the thousands”

    http://dicklist.blogspot.com

  32. sig94 Comment by sig94 UNITED STATES

    Forgive me if I go a bit OT Sir George, but I never heard of maraging steel until your mention of it in the manufacture of bomb casings. While researching the use of maraging steel I ran across this little scary gem regarding Iran’s importation of maraging steel.

    From the article:

    … maraging steel, which has twice the strength of stainless steel and is 85 percent harder than pure titanium, was needed to be used as very strong casing to allow an initial explosion inside the bomb to take place in a closed area for maximum power. That, he said, could cause a chain reaction and ultimately trigger a nuclear detonation…

    And Iran is allegedly importing this banned material through a series of front companies.
    There are those who question this assertion simply because the information is provided by Iranian exiles who, by the way, blew the whistle on Iran’s covert nuclear program.

    John Bolton in a June 24, 2005 appearance before the House International Relations Committee’s Middle East and Central Asia subcommittee, also feels strongly about Iran’s attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

    We know Iran is developing uranium mines, a uranium conversion facility (UCF), a massive uranium enrichment facility designed to house tens of thousands of centrifuges, numerous centrifuge productions workshops, a heavy water production plant, and a laser enrichment facility. We know that Iran has violated its NPT and IAEA commitments by covertly enriching uranium, by covertly producing and separating plutonium, by secretly converting yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6), and by secretly producing uranium metal and by failing to declare any of these activities to the IAEA.

    Today the Guardian reports that Iran is threatening an oil jihad if economic sanctions are imposed because of it’s pursuit of WMD. And for toppers,

    Iran also announced plans yesterday to convene a “scientific” conference to examine the evidence supporting the Holocaust. The news comes weeks after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provoked a global outcry by describing the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in the second world war as a “myth”.

    I hope we see real soon how how they handle the “myth” of a few score bunker busters turning their nuclear enrichment program into a pile of glowing shit.

  33. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    stiglitz and bilmes are not saying that the war is not worth doing–they are agnostic on that issue–as is the brookings paper i might add–but the point of their paper is to ask us to understand what the real cost of the war is

    Hmmm, I wonder what Stiglitz and Bilmes would say about the pander to the parasites programs with money extorted from taxpaers? Is that money well spent?

  34. Princess Natasha Comment by Princess Natasha UNITED STATES

    Juandos, good observation. Loony Libs™ and supposedly “impartial” peaceniks always whine about the cost of war. Yet, they are strangely silent about money stolen from me (and you, and any other productive individual) to support all sorts of stupid social programs and to reward lazy worthless trash. I WANT to pay for defense. I WANT to see bombs dropped on the bad guys. I WANT to see certain primitive swine get wiped off the face of the Earth by means of superior weaponry that my money helped pay for. I view defense spending as a good investment, as an assurance that my life, my liberty and my property will remain mine to enjoy. Defense is the only proper reason to give government money, since, at present, government has the monopoly on fighting the bad guys.

  35. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    Hey Princess, look at this IRS (pdf document:http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040ez.pdf) pie chart, specifically page 33 and you’ll see that according to the IRS almost 70 cents on the dollar goes to Constitutionally questionable welfare programs…

  36. Princess Natasha Comment by Princess Natasha UNITED STATES

    Yes, I know I am an indentured tax slave. Fucking sickening. :shake:

  37. Unregistered Comment by Chairman eDog, RCP UNITED STATES

    Nobel Prize Winner Succumbs to Bush Derangement Syndrome

    Isn’t this a dog-bites-man story, George, considering advanced BDS is a prerequisite for getting the award?

  38. lc ima mommy Comment by lc ima mommy

    Having a microsoft grammar and spelling checker built into the comments writer would help alot…

    Having with a capital H?! It’s a start cas…:)

  39. Unregistered Comment by GUYK UNITED STATES

    So, the war is gonna cost the country a couple of trillion dollars. Now this two Ts didn’t just go up in smoke. It was spent–the most of it in the American economy. Although as a libertarian I don’t believe in government spending money to create jobs I had rather see the money spent in our economy which in fact does create jobs. The left is upset because the money wasn’t just given to them to support their socialist ideas. The fact that the economy is growing at an acceptable pace and unemployment is lower than during the BJ Clinton years seems to tell me that even if the money was spent on supporting a war it was still well spent.

  40. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi guyk,

    So, the war is gonna cost the country a couple of trillion dollars. Now this two Ts didn’t just go up in smoke. It was spent–the most of it in the American economy.

    the only point about this, that stiglitz and bilmes makes explicit is the opportunity cost of doing so. its all spending funded by debt. debt that must be paid back at interest. these are not productive assets we are talking about here but government spending. so, those funds could have been used for something else that would lead to long term growth in the us economy. but we don’t have that in this case.

  41. Princess Natasha Comment by Princess Natasha UNITED STATES

    Yeah, it (the money) could have been used all right—by people who earned it in the first place–not by the gang of useless droolers called the government bureaucrats who took that money from productive people at the point of a gun.

    The more I think about it, the more the government reminds me of a “protection racket”. But, if the government bureaucrats are going to be in that particular game, the military spending is the only justifiable spending these fuckers can have.

    So, libtards, quit whining. It’s your bitch asses that are being protected, too. Jihadis will still kill you after they are done fucking you in the ass.

  42. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    Cas apparently just can’t see the forest due to incredible blindness that seems to afflict those with the liberal mindset:

    the only point about this, that stiglitz and bilmes makes explicit is the opportunity cost of doing so. its all spending funded by debt. debt that must be paid back at interest. these are not productive assets we are talking about here but government spending. so, those funds could have been used for something else that would lead to long term growth in the us economy. but we don’t have that in this case

    You do realize the Constitution mandates an armed forces right? What part of the same document mandates extorting from the productive so as to pander to the parasitic?

    Just curious, do you feel good that almost 70% of your federal tax dollar goes to funding Constitutionally questionable federal spending?… :cuckoo:

  43. hitnrun Comment by hitnrun UNITED STATES

    Linda Bilmes somehow calculated this cost as $1.3 Trillion - 71 times higher.

    I wonder if that includes the money saved by not having a major American city turned into a mass grave this year, as would have happened had Saddam been allowed to continue his programs.

    Oh but that’s right: we didn’t find nukes locked, loaded and aimed, which means Saddam wasn’t trying to fight the West and our 1.6 trillion (or 300 Billion, if you insist on using real life math) was wasted.

  44. Unregistered Comment by Ron

    blindness that seems to afflict those with the liberal mindset

    Oh, that’s rich. And I suppose the Republicans who are ostensibly conservatives would never ever pass anything not constitutionally mandated…Prescription drug bill, anyone? You live in a dream world if you think theres a side in politics that won’t pass laws and programs not specifically outlined in the Constitution. Since the time of Jefferson we have been passing national laws for the good of our fellow men and the aggrandization of this country’s potential.

    If you think that social programs are ‘liberal’, I don’t know what planet you will be comfortable on. Because you won’t get your way here or anywhere else.
    The question of social programs is not should they exist, but do they work as intended, and what are we doing to keep them effective?

  45. Emperor Darth Misha I Comment by Emperor Darth Misha I UNITED STATES

    And I suppose the Republicans who are ostensibly conservatives would never ever pass anything not constitutionally mandated…

    Thanks for the “ostensibly” in there. That saves me the trouble of having to address it. Just because a liberal runs with an “R” next to his name doesn’t make him a conservative.

    The question of social programs is not should they exist, but do they work as intended, and what are we doing to keep them effective?

    Nope.

    The question IS whether they should exist at all, because your other questions have already been answered.

    1) No, they don’t.
    2) We can’t keep them effective when they’ve never been effective.

  46. juandos Comment by juandos UNITED STATES

    Poor ron (#44) just doesn’t get it…

    Where or where did I anything at all about Republicans or Democrats?

    So Ron, just how good is your command of the english language? Apparently not very if this is the best you can do…

    Yes, social programs are liberal but liberals and liars aren’t only associated with the dim-witted Dems, its just that the dim-witted Dems take such an inordinate pride in being both today?

    You should have read the posts about that whining butt-head Sen. Stevens of Alaska when he was whining about the possibility of not getting some pork he thought ALL of us owed his constituents as a for instance… It wasn’t pretty!

  47. Unregistered Comment by cas UNITED STATES

    hi juandos,
    in answer to your question–i don’t get 70% when i look at the pie diagram. you assume that any social program is “questionable”. ok, but i find real value in many of them (medicare/medicaid, social security) etc. the ones i don’t find value in are the pork projects doled out to companies. for the most part, no serve no useful role to correct economic externalities or other market pathologies.

    as to the armed forces-yes they are necessary to the defence of the country, but juandos, nowhere in your answer to address the central issue–the trade-off between productive and non-productive assets. i think hitnrun does so. and an argument can be made that the cost of a ruined american city is worth the extra money we spend on the armed forces. my only issue with this is that the sort of assets we need for this are not more tanks and heliocopters but better intelligence gathering and translators, etc. so, i would argue that we have a misallocation of resources here as well–we are spending money on the wrong type of anti-terrorism assets.

    i state that juandos’ point is not the issue raised by stigliz and bilmes paper.

  48. SoCalOilMan Comment by SoCalOilMan UNITED STATES

    my only issue with this is that the sort of assets we need for this are not more tanks and heliocopters but better intelligence gathering and translators, etc. so, i would argue that we have a misallocation of resources here as well–we are spending money on the wrong type of anti-terrorism assets.

    Somewhere, sometime, somebody has to come up with a plan here. We weave back and forth with cuts to the military (no immediate threat) and then cut the intelligence because they’re infringing on our rights or nothing has happened recently. Then when something happens that we didn’t know was coming due to lack of intelligence and we have to respond militarily with a force that is short of supplies all hell breaks loose. Then we pay a fortune getting the miliarty back up to speed (body armor, heavier HumVees)and another fortune getting our spy network functional again.

    While I sense it is outside of reality, we should be able to figure out a point where there is a balance of having a military that will overwhelm an adversary and also have the information to not have to use it.