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“Stimulus” More Expensive than Iraq War?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:37 pm - August 23, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Bush-hatred

Remember how throughout the Bush years, Democrats and opponents of the Iraq War complained about its cost?

Well, over at the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott provides stats showing that with just one stroke of the pen last February, the incumbent Democrat increased the deficit at a far greater rate than did the much reviled Republican — and without anything to show for it:

* Obama’s stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War — more than $100 billion (15%) more.

* Just the first two years of Obama’s stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.

Read the whole thing.



  1. I’m not surprised. Lefties tend to overrate the cost of the Iraq war in every way – lives as well as treasure. It’s a thing with them, an article of their anti-Bush faith. They ascribe Bush-era deficits to the Iraq war, when in reality, the deficits are explained (or are more than covered) by his and the GOP’s wasteful, unnecessary increases in discretionary domestic spending in the 2001-2006 period. (Followed by congressional Democrats spending even more in 2007-8.)

    Leffties also have religious faith (some of them literally) that government spending somehow helps the economy and creates jobs. As we’ve seen with this last round of so-called “stimulus”, it doesn’t create jobs – or at least not financially sustainable jobs, jobs that will last when the so-called “stimulus” is over.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 12:59 pm - August 23, 2010

  2. P.S. Another twist: According to Democrats and Lord Keynes, isn’t war spending supposed to be good?

    When you have an intellectually honest Democrat (there are still a few) and you corner them about FDR’s awful economic record and the fact that his spending accomplished little, the US did not escape the Depression until the WW2 era… won’t the Democrat concede it, then try to spin it? Don’t they say “Well that just proves our point – The New Deal stimulus just wasn’t big enough – World War 2 spending ended the Depression and proves how government stimulus works”?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 1:39 pm - August 23, 2010

  3. Finally: Bush’s average deficit was around $300-400 billion. If that’s leaving the economy in shambles, then what are Obama’s $1.5 trillion deficits? Why is a shot of heroin under Bush the cause of the nation’s ruin, but 4 times the heroin from Obama will somehow, supposedly, magically cure us?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 2:26 pm - August 23, 2010

  4. I do remember the left telling us over and over again just how much “good” that money would do here at home if only we didn’t have this war to pay for. Well, the money (all of it) has been spent here and so far we don’t have much good to show for it…other than a mountain of long term debt. And nobody’s mentioning how much Afghanistan is costing.

    As far as WWII getting us out of the Depression, that’s true. Manufacturing went on night and day for 4 years and there was truly full employment as a result. However, wars nowadays do not need the manufactured goods that WWII did…drones and robots are doing more and more of the “work”…so I don’t see how wars today can be helpful to economic doldrums.

    Comment by Mary — August 23, 2010 @ 3:13 pm - August 23, 2010

  5. As far as WWII getting us out of the Depression, that’s true.

    I would disagree, even with that. The point of economic activity (or “jobs”) is to raise living standards. A real Depression is, above all, a decline in living standards. Living standards went down quite a bit in WW2 – down even from what they were in the 1930s, a time when Americans’ per capita consumption of butter actually rose.

    I would say the Depression ended in the late 1940s – say, 1945-46 onward – when the government finally stopped all its “stimulus”, as the GIs returned home and companies retooled the factories for domestic production.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 3:40 pm - August 23, 2010

  6. This is not an attack on soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Military personnel may act heroically in specific situations, showing courage and compassion, but for them to be heroes in the truest sense they must be engaged in a legal and morally justifiable conflict. That is not the case with the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq or Afghanistan, and the social pressure on us to use the language of heroism — or risk being labeled callous or traitors — undermines our ability to evaluate the politics and ethics of wars in a historical framework.

    The legal case is straightforward: Neither invasion had the necessary approval of the United Nations Security Council, and neither was a response to an imminent attack. In both cases, U.S. officials pretended to engage in diplomacy but demanded war. Under international law and the U.S. Constitution (Article 6 is clear that “all Treaties made,” such as the UN Charter, are “the supreme Law of the Land”), both invasions were illegal.

    The moral case is also clear: U.S. officials’ claims that the invasions were necessary to protect us from terrorism or locate weapons of mass destruction were never plausible and have been exposed as lies. The world is a more dangerous place today than it was in 2001, when sensible changes in U.S. foreign policy and vigorous law enforcement in collaboration with other nations could have made us safer.

    The people who bear the greatest legal and moral responsibility for these crimes are the politicians who send the military to war and the generals who plan the actions, and it may seem unfair to deny the front-line service personnel the label of “hero” when they did their duty as they understood it. But this talk of heroism is part of the way we avoid politics and deny the unpleasant fact that these are imperial wars. U.S. military forces are in the Middle East and Central Asia not to bring freedom but to extend and deepen U.S. power in a region home to the world’s most important energy resources. The nation exercising control there increases its influence over the global economy, and despite all the U.S. propaganda, the world realizes we have tens of thousands of troops on the ground because of those oil and gas reserves.

    Comment by steve — August 23, 2010 @ 5:14 pm - August 23, 2010

  7. steve, your “facts” couldn’t be more wrong.

    Neither invasion had the necessary approval of the United Nations Security Council

    On the contrary, there were 12 years of U.N. Security Council resolutions against Saddam. The last one threatened serious consequences if he didn’t comply with U.N. weapons inspections by a certain deadline. The Security Council passed it and everyone knew exactly what it meant.

    You’ve said several other 100%-wrong things, but I don’t have all day. Ciao.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 6:47 pm - August 23, 2010

  8. Under international law and the U.S. Constitution (Article 6 is clear that “all Treaties made,” such as the UN Charter, are “the supreme Law of the Land”), both invasions were illegal.

    Really, Steve?

    And under what “international law” and the UN Charter was Saddam’s continuing to acquire and seek weapons of mass destruction legal?

    And under what “international law” and the UN Charter was Saddam’s open defiance and noncompliance with numerous UN sanctions against Iraq legal?

    And under what “international law” and the UN Charter was Saddam’s outright genocide against Shi’a Muslims, Marsh Arabs, and Kurds, just to name a few, legal?

    And under what “international law” and the UN Charter was Saddam’s “oil for food” bribery program, from which UN bureaucrats with control over the enforcement of sanctions were directly profiting, legal?

    That is what makes it clear that you are an anti-military bigot, steve. You whine and scream about “just war” while openly endorsing and supporting outright genocide and demanding that the UN ignore such behavior.

    The UN exists precisely because insane dictators like Saddam Hussein killed millions of people for no better reason than their religious beliefs. The fact that the UN not only refused to do anything, but in fact aided and abetted this insane dictator so that it could reap illegal profits and bribes from oil, destroys any “moral standing” that you are trying to invoke.

    Antimilitary bigotry is disgusting no matter how much sophistry you try to use, steve. Man up and admit your bigotry and hatred for the brave members of our armed forces.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 23, 2010 @ 6:52 pm - August 23, 2010

  9. Sorry steve…not to dogpile on you too badly, as ILC and NDT have already done an exellent job taking your ‘argument’ apart, here comes your extra-credit whupping:

    Part of the ’91 ceasefire Saddam agreed to in exchange for the cessation of hostilities was the imposition of “No Fly Zones” (NFZ’s) in both the north and south of the Iraq. On top of that, part of the ’91 Ceasefire agreement included Hussein’s acceptance of Allied aerial patrols in the afforementioned NFZ’s.

    The first time Saddam’s air defense AAA batteries and SAM (Surface to Air Missile) brigades fired at our patrols in ’91, that officially broke the ceasefire. For 12 years, Saddam broke that ceasefire when he fired at our Air patrols over the NFZ’s.

    Every. Single. Day.

    The first time he did it, we had EVERY right to re-commence military actions against him, by the terms of the Ceaefire agreement.

    Any other questions?

    Comment by AF_Vet — August 23, 2010 @ 7:20 pm - August 23, 2010

  10. AF_Vet: Exactly right. The state of war from the first Gulf War was never ended by a peace treaty; only by a ceasefire, which Saddam trampled on weekly, thus legally returning to a state of war. Which was the legal basis for 12 years of the U.N. trying to administer Iraq and tell the conquered Saddam what to do. Iraq was not a sovereign country, in that time. It is now. That’s an accomplishment of the U.S.-led Coalition having stood up for the U.N. and enforced U.N. resolutions on Iraq, including having re-constituted Iraq on a legal and democratic basis. Not an accident.

    The very idea that the world would be safer today if Saddam had been left in power… Yikes, what a nutty belief.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 7:39 pm - August 23, 2010

  11. Cato Institute did a comparison to the social welfare programs and the Iraq war.

    I say we withdraw from the welfare programs because the total cost will be greater than VietNam, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined!

    Comment by William A Manning — August 23, 2010 @ 8:16 pm - August 23, 2010

  12. The wars were far more costly than the porkulus – they cost thousands of lives and many thousands of wounded (some horrifically) on top of the billions and billions and the end isn’t in sight.

    As the months go by, my opinion of the wars goes more and more negative. I thought nation-bulding was a bad policy when Clinton tried it and nothing I’ve seen changes my mind.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — August 23, 2010 @ 8:34 pm - August 23, 2010

  13. SCR, since the alternative by definition did not happen and is out of sight, it’s easy to forget what it was: Afghanistan ruled by a confident and surging al Qaeda… and Saddam on the loose… or, if we only removed Saddam and then left, Iraq likewise turned into a gigantic al Qaeda training camp, or ruled by Iran in its Shia areas.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 8:43 pm - August 23, 2010

  14. P.S. Plus, in all likelihood, a nuclear Libya and a nuclear Syria. I wonder if Israel would still be here.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 23, 2010 @ 8:45 pm - August 23, 2010

  15. Guys,

    steve’s immune to facts, but good job pointing them out anyway.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 24, 2010 @ 6:50 am - August 24, 2010

  16. […] “Stimulus” More Expensive than Iraq War? ( […]

    Pingback by CBO: Iraq War Cost Less Than Obama Economic Stimulus « The Practical Vegetarian Weblog — August 30, 2010 @ 3:24 pm - August 30, 2010

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