Third Party & Independents Archives

$87 Billion Dollars

It’s no trifle sum, and many fiscal conservatives are beginning to question the implications:

  • Where will this large sum of money will be coming from?
  • How does the Bush administration plan on sending such a great amount of foreign aid without financially hurting America?
  • Are we burdening future generations with an unmanageable debt?
So I decided to try and come up with a plan to solve not only the the foreign cost of Iraq and Afghanistan, but the domestic woes of unemployment.

Possibly, but first consider that this administration has already done the numbers and has cut social spending by more than $100 billion since 2002. This is a stopgap measure that simply pushes the federal debt burden onto the states. Where federal money once paid for roads and infrastructure, state governments are now shouldering the burden. So while the federal government is able to spend freely the money it brings in from federal taxes, it has largely stopped sending that money back to the states, and namely the people to paid the taxes. Frankly, the way the federal government plays with their numbers is beginning to stink.

Instead, it's going to Iraq, Afghanistan "and elsewhere, which we expect will cost $66 billion over the next year". $87 billion dollars is a lot of money when you break it down, even if only a quarter ($21.75b) makes it to rebuilding instead of military costs, that breaks down to $435 for every man woman and child for the countries that have a rough population of 50 million. Consider that the average yearly wage for an Iraqi is $960 a year and for Afghanis it's $280 per year. It didn't take much thought to consider the reality that we could literally spend this money paying Iraqis and Afghanis to rebuild their own country. After all, wouldn't liberation in a fiscal sense be apropos?

Then I had to check myself when I realized that our own infrastructure isn't doing so hot, which was so ironically displayed in the recent blackouts. And for us to cut $100 billion, even for a year, meant that we'd have to either raise taxes, or let our infrastructure languish. And our unemployment situation isn't doing very well either.

So I came to a logical idea, send unemployed Americans (nearly 18 million of them, or 6%, but let's be realistic, the number of those qualified, or non-habitual, or would even be willing to go over there and work would be closer to 9 million) over to Iraq and Afghanistan to aid them in rebuilding their infrastructure! I redo the math, and suddenly the average wage is $2417 a year. Wow! That's pretty high. And those people would no longer be a drain on unemployment resources... logically that money could be funneled back into infrastructure.

But then I thought some more and I realized I forgot all about the cost of material, or even transporting them to the Middle East! Well, I cut the $21.75b by 1/3 (because material costs can be expensive, but labor is usually more), and the average yearly wage for an American working in Iraq or Afghanistan is $1611, still a far superior wage, and America still gets to collect taxes.

But then I realized the sad truth, which is that such an idea would never be entertained by the current administration, and that the reality is that a large proportion of this $87 billion dollars is not going to military upkeep (which is already budgeted, or have we already forgotten the $396.1 billion?), but into the pockets of companies such as Halliburton, The Carlyle Group and their ilk. It seems a lot of people may be getting that vibe as well.

Posted by Stephen VanDyke at September 9, 2003 5:02 PM