Thursday, May 8, 2008

The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree

Okay, my blog has been getting über left leaning political, but, you know what? If it doesn't do it now, when will it? So if left leaning politics isn't your thing, step on or maybe, more accurately, click on.

This isn't because John Cusack has me as one of his top friends over at MySpace. Although it did warm my little blogging heart Photobucket, and I got a screen shot to save it because nothing is forever. Photobucket

It's because going on a $3 Trillion shopping spree really does put into perspective how wasteful this war is.

I read John Cusack's latest blog over at the Huffington Post this morning and it got me over to an interesting site. I'll post the blog here in full so you can read it too:

The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree

THAT WAS FUN. Just got done spending $3 trillion. Try it yourself - it's a lot harder than you might think. Honestly, it would have been a whole lot easier just to follow the president's example and blow it all on one illegal occupation of Iraq.

$3 trillion is the projected cost of the Iraq War according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes. That's a whole lot of zeros, but what does it really amount to? How many homes would it buy for Americans who've fallen victim to the subprime meltdown? How many debts would it pay off for developing nations? For that matter, how many of those new Mac Air laptops would it buy me? As it turns out, one whole hell of a lot of all of those things combined.

Try it yourself:

What a colossal waste of money. What a tragedy of lost opportunities. Where is all this money going? KBR, Halliburton and the other war profiteers have made out like bandits in Iraq, while taxpayers and their own workers get screwed. KBR enjoys contracts worth $16 billion, and still avoids paying Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies in the Cayman Islands.

In the Bush Administration's defense, of course, they had no idea it would cost this much when they embarked on their insane crusade (in fact, they still don't) Along with cheering Iraqis, arsenals of WMDs, and leprechauns and unicorns, the White House expected to be presenting the American people with a much, much smaller bill for its services. Back in 2003, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (remember him?) was fond of quoting the projected cost at $50 billion.

You may recall that about six years ago, Bush's own chief economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, was pushed out of the White House for suggesting that the war could cost up to a trifling $200 billion - still $2.8 trillion off the mark. "Baloney" was how Rumsfeld characterized Lindsey's estimate, before quoting the $50 billion figure.

With Rumsfeld gone, one would hope to see a little more honest accounting out of the Defense Department. So what does The Pentagon have to say about Stiglitz's sobering calculation? That number "seems way out of the ballpark to me," said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.

Could $3 trillion cover the cost of a worthwhile accountant at the DoD? Apparently that's the only thing it can't afford.

Sure, sure...right leaning pundits are going to say this figure is too high and left leaning pundits are going to say this figure is right on or too low. The fact remains that we shouldn't be there at all and it's going to be a very expensive kick in the butt for all Americans who supported this war and even for those who didn't, unfortunately.

The YouTube video from the $3 Trillion Shopping Spree website:

Now make sure you go shopping.

In my cart right now:

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