So, how much does the war really cost Mr. President?
Remember that old song, “Me and my Shadow”? Well, the Decider-in-Chief has been using a “shadow budget” to fund the war in Iraq from the start. This isn’t news to people that have been paying attention. Bush has used emergency spending bills to cover virtually the entire costs of the war in Iraq. Not only are lawmakers bitching, the Iraq Study Group stated the budgetary system should not be circumvented.
No kidding gents.
The real complaint about this method of funding the war is that the oversight duties of the legislature are removed, not to mention how it screws up the federal budget projections. Three senators have sent a letter to the President demanding an end to this “shadow budget”. The 2 senators and 1 congressman who drafted and signed this letter: Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, current chairman of the Senate Budget Committee; Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee; and Democratic Rep. John Spratt of South Carolina, incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee.
A very telling excerpt from a Rueters article on this subject explains quite a bit;
“In legislation passed in June to authorize the latest infusion of funds for Iraq, an amendment was added requiring the president to finance the war costs through the annual budget. But Bush indicated in a signing statement that he does not necessarily view that requirement as binding because it is the president’s role to submit the budget. “
Ah yes..the infamous signing statement…best way to circumvent any laws or bills the Decider-in-Chief doesn’t like, is it not my dear reader?
This war is estimated to cost American taxpayers roughly $8 Billion a month. Let me type that again…..$8 Billion a month. Surely there is a better way to spend that money which would offer more protection to the U.S.? The line” If we don’t fight them there, they will follow us home” got a lot of airplay..but I don’t think most folks are buying that bs any longer, other than perhaps the staunch neocons that still support Bush and his war-mongering ways.
Incoming Senate Budge Committe Chairmain, Rep. John Spratt(D,S.C.) has stated in this MSNBC article: “When the president talks about staying the course, he never mentions cost as a factor,” Spratt said. “But it is a factor, particularly when you get costs over $100 billion a year.”
The MSNBC article also tallies up for us the “terror-related” spending since that fateful day known as 9/11…here it comes..are you sitting down?
FIVE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS
That money of course was approved by a legislature that was controlled by the Republicans. Yes, the Democrats went along for the ride. Even if every Democrat had voted against most of the expenditures..they would of passed.
The Democrats now hold the purse strings, do they not? They have the power to hold hearings and subpoena people within the government. The budget deficit has declined..amazingly..to a mere $248 Billion. This is explained by White House Budget Director Rob Portman this way: “Revenues are up because of a growing economy, “That has enabled us not just to afford the relatively high [war] supplementals — higher than we expected — but actually to decline the deficit.”
The Democrats explain away this logic by stating “the annual deficit is kept artificially low with cash borrowed from the Social Security trust fund. The nation’s overall indebtedness is approaching $9 trillion, and interest on that debt grew by 23 percent last year, making it the fastest-growing part of the budget.”
Thanks to the ever-expanding military budget, there is roughly only 20% of the budget left to spend on things like education, highways, housing and courts, and the like. You know, things that keep our country going. Wasn’t it nice of the Republican-led Congress to leave unfunded most of the programs needed to run this country and provide services critical to our citizens?
Not really. But never fear, the Democrats have a plan..they want to cut out the “pet funding” otherwise known as PORK or Earmarks from the federal budget. That will teach the bastards to rubber stamp the war in Iraq, won’t it?
Not really. It does however, provide the Democrats with a huge dilemma on how to carry out many of the promises made such as cutting interest rates for student loans in half, getting rid of the Medicare drug plan “doughnut hole”, more cash for veterans and children’s health services and all the other programs and promises made during the mid-term election.
The Democrats will have to get creative. But first, we need to know what this friggin war is really costing us.
Cross-posted at Bring it On!