Friday, October 21, 2011

Never start your day with the news....

NPR tells me first thing this morning that the war in Libya was not cheap; or maybe it was:

"First of all, it dramatically lowers the cost to the American people. We spent just over a billion dollars, which is dramatically less than we have in recent military interventions," he said. "And also we see a great deal of legitimacy for our actions when we work internationally with other partners and allies."
It's certainly dramatically less than we're willing to pay for anything else. Anybody hear, say, a Paul Ryan complaining about "borrowed money" being spent on military ventures? Or does that only apply to domestic spending?

LOWE: I come from a very middle-class family and under President Obama, I get $5,500 per year to pay for school, which doesn’t come close to covering all of the funding, but it helps ease the burden. Under your plan, you cut it by 15 percent. I was just curious why you would cut a grant that goes directly to the middle- and lower-class people that need it the most.

RYAN: ‘Cause Pell Grants have become unsustainable. It’s all borrowed money…Look, I worked three jobs to pay off my student loans after college. I didn’t get grants, I got loans, and we need to have a system of viable student loans to be able to do this.
So, "I had to suffer, and so should you," combined with "We can't afford to spend money on people!" Which is certainly the theme being sounded, because the other major problem this country faces is too many hungry people:

SESSIONS: No program in our government has surged out of control more dramatically than food stamps. And nothing is being done about it. [...] Multimillion dollar lottery winners are getting food stamps because the money is considered to be an asset not an income. One of the fast and furious gun buyers –

HOST: But hold on, for ever lottery winner that has food stamps, there’s probably a lot more people who really need them who have them, right?

SESSIONS: Well look, do you think there are four times as many people who need food stamps today as in 2001. That answers itself. [...] We cannot do this. We do not have the money. Congress doesn’t understand that we can’t afford to double the program every three years.
Given the current unemployment situation I'd say yes, there probably are four times as many people who need food stamps today as in 2001. But again, no complaint about the cool billion just spent in Libya to destroy that country in order to remove Gadaffi from power. Of course, blowing stuff up can be profitable: right, Sen. Graham?

One of the problems I have with “leading from behind” is that when a day like this comes, we don’t have the infrastructure in place that we could have. I’m glad it ended the way it did. It took longer than it should have. If we could have kept American air power in the fight it would have been over quicker. Sixty-thousand Libyans have been wounded, 3,000 maimed, 25,000 killed. Let’s get in on the ground. There is a lot of money to be made in the future in Libya. Lot of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles.
So maybe all that money spent in Libya was just an investment for...I dunno, Halliburton?

There is a cost for all of this, as NPR pointed out this morning:

With the nation's student-loan debt climbing toward $1 trillion, it's taking many young people longer than ever to pay off their loans. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average of $24,000. But some borrow far more and find this debt influencing major life decisions long after graduation.
So "we" cannot do this, but "they" can. And who is "we" and "they", again?


  1. We were only supposed to be in Libya for a few days. What's a billion? A billion here and a billion there, and soon you're talking real, well, the student loan money owed.

    When will you ever learn, Rmj? We no longer invest in people here in the US. Wars? - now that's an entirely different story.

    And there must be hundreds, (or even thousands?) of lottery winners on food stamps. It's a major problem, I'm, sure. And let's not forget that nearly all of the folks on food stamps have refrigerators and cell phones.

  2. Scott the Obscure10:19 AM

    That doesn't even address the knock-on effects from food stamps. Food stamps, _like every other individual welfare program_, creates jobs. I work in a big box store, and they certainly create mine: If tomorrow food stamps, WIC, and unemployment were discontinued, sales would drop to the point that my company would decide it can no longer afford to employ me. So thank you, welfare recipients, MY job creators!

  3. I wonder what will happen with our country in the next ten years...