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Can We Afford It?

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iliana
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0 posted 03-20-2006 04:46 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Can this nation afford the war in Iraq any longer?  If you think we can, what are you willing to sacrifice?  Do you think our economy can stand it; and if so, please explain how?  Do you think we will be able to continue to afford the best military equipment and training (including protective gear for our troops) as the economy gets tighter and tighter here?  It's my fear, no matter whether I think the war is right or wrong, that we can no longer afford it; what do you think?
stargal
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1 posted 03-20-2006 09:18 AM       View Profile for stargal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for stargal

Please explain what you mean by, "economy gets tighter and tighter ".
I'm not quite sure what that means. Sure, the news is always talking about how the economy is going to crash.
What exactly does that mean? I'm not an expert on this, so i would like to know what this means to you, before i offer an opinion.

@-->---

Grinch
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2 posted 03-20-2006 09:21 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I don’t think America can do anything but keep paying, the costs may be high but surely the administration weighed very carefully the consequences and costs of invading Iraq and accepted the price they may have to pay. After all it isn’t like the administration went into the war blind or unprepared.

Colin Powell, a man for whom I have a lot of respect, cautioned the US government before the war that a military assault on Iraq was the easy part; the hard part was rebuilding the country based on a democratic framework and maintaining order. He summed it up quite succinctly:

"You break it, you own it."

If America pulls out of Iraq tommorow without an acceptable framework of government and robust security force the country will degenerate into open civil war. If that were to happen Americas world standing would be so low you wouldn’t be able to slip a postcard beneath it, Americas enemies would be dancing in the streets and every headline in the world would probably contain the word – DEFEATED.

America has created the situation in Iraq, America now owns the problem and has to either continue paying the cost or withdraw and accept what will be seen in some quarters as defeat and in other quarters as a gross lack of moral responsibility.
Ringo
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3 posted 03-20-2006 10:51 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Here we go with the "economy" argument again.
Since it has been brought out, let's look at the American Economy over the last 6 months:
The unemployment rate has dropped from 5.1% to 4.8%
There have 997,000 new jobs created, with 243,000 predicted for the month of February alone.
The average hourly earnings of the American worker has increased almost 30 cents an hour.
The Consumer Price Index has increased 1.5% total.
The Producer Price Index has increased 2.7% as well.
Productivity has increased 3.7%
Retail Sales is up 4.7%
Existing House sales prices are up .5%
Small business ownership is up
Minority business ownership is increasing.
People are saving and investing more.
Americans have more disposable income.

Now, I do not admit to understanding the economy as much as someone who has been in the business for 20 years, howwever it certainly seemns as though the economy, with these numbers is doing just fine. My economy might not be doing so well, and I am certainly not making the $16/hour tht the average American is... however in my small little town, 7 new businesses opened in the last year...breaking the national average, ALL of them are still in operation. Several other local businesses have expanded, including a small family restaurant that has expanded into a banquet hall.
In fairness, there have been 4 businesses that have closed in the past year: 2 to death, 1 to bad business practices, and 1 to its owner currently accepting the hospitality of the Pennsylvania Correctional System. That is still an increase of 3 businesses in a town of less than 5,000 people... and that doesn't include the business that switched hands because the owner retired and sold it. That doesn't include the businesses that people run out of their homes (Avon, tax prep, hair salons, etc).
The economy is chugging along just fine,. and if the Democrats in congress would take the time to release the numbers to their consitutents, rather than realizing it is the beginning of an election cycle and doing anything possible to scare them, then the American people would be more properly informed.


To be merciful to the cruel is to be cruel to the merciful.
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Ringo
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4 posted 03-20-2006 11:32 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Something quick, I forgot to add-
Since the war began:
Unemployment is down .9%
4.3 million jobs have been created
Hourly wages have increased 11%
Consumer Price Index increased 11.1%
Productivity increased 60.2%
Retail Sales increased by 360 Million per year
New Home Sales increased 20%
Existing Home Sales increased 11%
The NASDAQ increased 42%
The Dow increased 29%
NYSE increased 43%

Agaiin...where is the failing economy?


To be merciful to the cruel is to be cruel to the merciful.
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iliana
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5 posted 03-20-2006 12:39 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

The economy is going to slip very soon according to most projections because of our enormous national debt, Ringo and Stargal.  That is what I meant by "tightening."
iliana
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6 posted 03-20-2006 01:09 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Grinch, you have a point.  But, my questions remain.  What are we willing to sacrifice to finance this war, individually or otherwise?
Ron
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7 posted 03-20-2006 02:11 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
The economy is going to slip very soon according to most projections because of our enormous national debt ...

Depending on your definition of "soon," I would say that's highly unlikely. When Bush took office in 2000, the economy was already in a decline (after something like a decade of growth), and 9/11 sharply accentuated that decline.

What turned it around?

The same thing that always spurs an economy -- massive spending. In the face of a recession, the National Reserve is quick to lower interest rates. Why? Because lower rates spur spending. You also often see the government (especially a Republican-led government) cut taxes. Why? To put more money in people's pockets so they'll be more willing to spend it. Spending is the key to economic growth.

The healthiest growth occurs when businesses spend more money (except, then, we call it investing). Failing that, we want to get consumers spending more money (which, when sustained, gets businesses to spend more money). At the end of the chain, and usually as a last resort, a lagging economy can be kicked in the butt by a government spending more money.

Guess what any war pretty much guarantees?

The fact that the massive spending is being done with borrowed money won't be relevant to the economy for at least a decade or two. Vietnam and, especially, Reagan, proved that this country's economy can be fueled by deficit spending for a very long time. Why did the Soviet Union fall when it did? Because they went bankrupt trying to keep up with Reagan's defense spending.

The greatest danger to our economy right now is a withdrawal from Iraq and the sudden decline of government spending. Unless something else takes its place, we're talking instant recession.

So, Iliana, if your *real* concern is the economy and what we can afford, the question you should probably be asking is whether we can afford to end the war. Is a thriving economy worth the loss of human life to you?

Put in that light, it kind of makes one think. Reversing the question seems to suggest that maybe war shouldn't be measured in terms of dollars and cents at all. The effect of a war on our economy, whether negative or positive, whether long-term or short-term, probably shouldn't be a determining factor.


Grinch
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8 posted 03-20-2006 02:30 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Iliana,

I think the answer should be the same things you’re expecting your servicemen to risk – everything – if the answer is anything less the reason for them being there isn’t worth a bean.
Mistletoe Angel
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9 posted 03-20-2006 02:39 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Our government and the Pentagon certainly CAN afford it, no question about that. But I also happen to believe a vast majority of this nation really isn't willing in wanting us to afford it, hardly anyone who supports the war is willing to make that sacrifice or even take to the streets for pro-war rallies, so I imagine barely anyone REALLY wants to make any major sacrifice.

The fact is, our nation's war economy is accelerating in growth (in Oregon its higher than its been since World War II), and in the process, basic qualities of life for all Americans are eroding.

Economist Doug Henwood has estimated that the war bill will add up to an average of at least $3,415 for every U.S. household, while another economist, James Galbraith of the University of Texas, predicts that while war spending may boost the economy in a short-term, over the long term it is likely to bring a decade of economic troubles, including an expanded trade deficit and high inflation.

The $151.1 billion expenditure for the war through 2005 could have paid for nearly 23 million housing vouchers; health care for over 27 million uninsured Americans; salaries for nearly 3 million elementary school teachers; 678,200 new fire engines; over 20 million Head Start slots for children; or health care coverage for 82 million children. Before the 2004 election, a leaked memo from the White House to domestic agencies outlines major cuts in funding for education, Head Start, home ownership, job training, medical research and homeland security.

In July 2004, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 1 in 6 soldiers returning from war in Iraq were showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, or severe anxiety, yet only 23 to 40 percent of respondents in the study who showed signs of a mental disorder had sought mental health care.

Many of our schools are either losing money or have gone bankrupt, health care costs have virtually doubled since the war began, more Americans are in poverty since the war began, the minimum wage has remained the same despite that.....this emerging war economy is hurting our own children here at home.

In 1967, when Dr. Martin Luther King made his speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence," he offered a number of reasons for opposing that war. One was of the diversion of resources war encourages, where he said, "I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube."

A second point he made in that speech was tha ""we are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls 'enemy,' for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers."

Those who still believe in the war can and have every right to share and take pride in the short-term rosey indicators, but when you see the tens of thousands of Katrina victims still migrating from place to place, many of them without food stamps and even food to feed their kids, when you see elementary schools in your own community becoming overcrowded, when you recognize many Americans just can't get by on our current minimum wage, you know something is absolutely wrong here, and due to the Iraq war we are experiencing another one of these very diversions of resources from our own children Dr. King spoke about before, to a war effort that may not even succeed, which may cost as much as $2 trillion by the end.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
iliana
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10 posted 03-20-2006 02:40 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Ron, as you have probably figured out, I am opposed to war, period.  I hope you are right.  

And, Grinch, I guess that is a response to you, too.  

Since we're there, though, I think our troops should be provided with everything they need.

Ron, doesn't the deficit spending catch up with us at some point, though?
iliana
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11 posted 03-20-2006 02:44 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Noah, you know I'm with you on all your statements here.  So, why don't we do more spending internally other than the Pentagon (or perhaps, on fighting worldwide poverty, disease, and energy problems) if spending spurs the economy, instead of war.  I know we spend on many internal programs, but many of those budgets have been cut -- Ron, maybe you can give us your insight here?  
iliana
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12 posted 03-20-2006 02:49 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Ron, I heard the economic woes would happen in the next few months -- this was two nights in a row on Fox News with Neil Cavuto and panel of people.  
Mistletoe Angel
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13 posted 03-20-2006 03:01 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Yes, Jo, I do agree as much as I oppose this war with every white blood cell in my body, we must also show our sons and daughters serving there our support and appreciation, so we must continue to offer them the armor, supplies, food and necessities they need until we end this occupation.

I am also anti-war, but I recognize also that a majority identify themselves as not part of the anti-war movement and do believe in certain kinds of wars as a last resort, and when that happens, we must spend only on what is absolutely vital for the health and security of our young men and uniform and the best of supplies itself. In other words, much of the money that is being spent on this war effort are going to customizing much of the same Cold War-era military technology, not on new advanced military technology, which I believe most should find absurd, as well as on worthless models like the C-130J cargo plane, which the Pentagon spent $2.6 billion to buy fifty of them, yet can't drop heavy equipment, can't perform in cold weather, even lacks the range to reach global hot spots from here, which, surely, are the expected features of a cargo plane.

Another irony is that often many wars are fought over natural resources like oil, yet war itself is the greatest consumer of oil (A U.S-made F-16 fighter warplane burns more fuel in an hour than the average U.S car does in one year)

Ever since the war in Iraq has began, Washington has continuously made a simple, blunt message, "NO!". No on health care, job training, veteran benefits, food stamps, college education, Medicaid. "NO!" They're basically telling America, "Besides, we're giving you the C-130J to protect you, so stop whining and be grateful for this gift!" $66 million a piece on defective military models; your health care, job training and education the very thing customizing them in a Lockheed Martin boondoggle. It's bad enough this is happening, the least we could ask for is planes that can actually perform a wide range of tasks.

No, it's the needs and necessities of our young men and women in uniform that should ALWAYS come first.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

iliana
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14 posted 03-20-2006 03:12 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Points made very well, Noah!  *hugs*
Grinch
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15 posted 03-20-2006 03:24 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I am opposed to war, period.


That’s interesting, are you opposed to all wars or is there a circumstance, as a defensive measure perhaps, where war is regrettable but justifiable?

I was opposed to this one by the way– still am in fact but as things stand I believe America being in Iraq is better than America not being in Iraq.

Mistletoe Angel
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16 posted 03-20-2006 03:28 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Hey Jo, last week at KBOO, the local community radio station I volunteer at, I co-produced a five-part weekly series on Oregon's growing war economy, and I think this is something you'll find important to listen to.

Each of the audio installments are below, each one about five minutes long. This is centered around Oregon, but I think it'll give you a good feel about how similar efforts could very well be happening in your own community. Enjoy!

*****

Oregon's Emerging War Economy (Part 1 of 5: How Militarized Are We?)

Oregon's Emerging War Economy (Part 2 of 5: Localized War Economies)

(Oregon's Emerging War Economy (Part 3 of 5: Nanotechnology & The U.S Defense Department)

Oregon's Emerging War Economy (Part 4 of 5: The Affair With Local Businesses)

Oregon's Emerging War Economy (Part 5 of 5: What Can We Do About It?)

*

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

iliana
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17 posted 03-20-2006 04:24 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Noah, thank you.

Grinch, I am a Quaker. I believe in nonviolent resolution to conflict.  If I had to protect my child in a case of life and death, I do not know how I would react...perhaps, I would resort to defensive measures.  I hope I am never put in that kind of situation.  It is enough that my son is wanting to volunteer for the Reserves...I am having a real problem dealing with that.  
iliana
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18 posted 03-20-2006 04:31 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

"Casualty Transport Systems".....   Very interesting, Noah.  So the war machine promotes economic growth, but not the kind of growth that investment in other areas, like education, healthcare, etc.......would promote.  Oh my gosh, Noah, the militarry industries' use of nanotechnolgoy interview .... deadening pain centers so soldiers can fight for a week....oh my gosh!  Now that bandage thing, that sounds good.  
Ron
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19 posted 03-20-2006 05:11 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I know we spend on many internal programs, but many of those budgets have been cut -- Ron, maybe you can give us your insight here?

I'm certainly not an expert on economics, but if spending is to affect the greater economy it has to produce something. Tanks and guns may not be what most people would want for their birthday, but they do create jobs and factories and investments, and that money trickles into almost all other sectors of the economy. I think many of the "internal programs" produce absolutely nothing and, indeed, tend to discourage production.

Paying a man not to work just doesn't seem like a good way to build a strong economy.

quote:
The $151.1 billion expenditure for the war through 2005 could have paid for nearly 23 million housing vouchers; health care for over 27 million uninsured Americans; salaries for nearly 3 million elementary school teachers; 678,200 new fire engines; over 20 million Head Start slots for children; or health care coverage for 82 million children.

  
quote:
Ever since the war in Iraq has began, Washington has continuously made a simple, blunt message, "NO!".


First, Noah, I think you're mixing your oranges in with your apples. Several of the items in your list, like teacher's salaries and fire engines, are the responsibilities of the state not the Federal government. If I don't want the government dictating from afar my local standards or telling me who I can and can't hire to teach my children, then I have to be willing to foot the bills locally. Our Federal government never gives something for nothing.

Second, most of the items in your list are the responsibility of the individual not the government. I don't think the cost of the war has anything at all to do with saying No to escalating socialism. The streets could be lined with gold and many of us would still be saying no to government handouts that rarely help and always demean. Helping other people to survive is the job of people, not faceless bureaucracy.

Personally, I don't want more government, I want less.


Mistletoe Angel
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20 posted 03-20-2006 05:26 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I too believe in less government, Ron. My sharing of the statistics wasn't at all intended to reflect that I favor mass governmental influence in each of our cultural outlets, but to simply point out how if it was absolutely necessary to spend large quantities of money like this, it could have been spent on far more important things that depend on the growth and health of our own citizens.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

iliana
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21 posted 03-20-2006 05:51 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Ron, I think those "handouts" in some cases are mistakes, too.  But, I do think the government could issue grants for research (technology and medical) that would stimulate growth markets, too.  Bush himself said we are oil addicted...so why not spend money on getting us energy independent instead of a war?  Or....on grants for medical research (or maybe even stem cell) or research to end aids, cancer, or the bird flu....or grants for other things that will produce technology growth, things associated with border protection, port protection....and on and on?  

[This message has been edited by iliana (03-20-2006 06:48 PM).]

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22 posted 03-20-2006 06:24 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

I'm certainly not an expert on economics, but if spending is to affect the greater economy it has to produce something. Tanks and guns may not be what most people would want for their birthday, but they do create jobs and factories and investments, and that money trickles into almost all other sectors of the economy. I think many of the "internal programs" produce absolutely nothing and, indeed, tend to discourage production.

Paying a man not to work just doesn't seem like a good way to build a strong economy.




When we look at 'the economy' as an entity and consider individual sectors like defense and healthcare it is tempting to consider these as value added activities but in reality they only fall into the 'necessary' category.  Here's what I mean.  If you have a business that manufactures widgets you may have capex, or capital expenditures in plant and equipment -- that's long-term investment and is a value add to the process of making widgets.  You also will have to buy raw material to produce the widgets.  This, again, is a value added expense.  You will probably hire people to perform labor to produce, handle, and sell the widgets -- these are all value added activities.  But, if you buy a security system to keep people from stealing the widgets, buy insurance to protect your investment from damage, and hire a security guard to patrol the premises these may be necessary expenditures -- and those costs will be aggregated into the total costs of all widgets produced -- but they don't add any value to the widget.

Similarly -- building tanks doesn't add value to an economy -- unless you're selling those tanks to someone.  If you're only buying them with your own tax dollars for the purpose of deploying them for your own defense -- they are actually a drag on your overall economy.

The 'broken window' scenario is another way to look at it.  If you break all the windows in your house -- you have to spend money for materials and labor to replace them -- but did it add any value to you?

Healthcare is a little fuzzier though -- in some ways it fits the broken window model -- but in other ways it becomes a value add like producing food -- because it sustains the population - which is the economy.

Conversely -- when wealth concentrates into only a few hands -- and if people don't have the ability to buy basic necessities -- this drags the economy too -- but, if we put enough into someone's hands so that they can  buy toilet paper and food and housing -- all of those value-added things get produced and sold to those people -- so it becomes a value add.  

If we had invested the money spent in Iraq on scholarships, housing, healthcare, teachers, schools -- THEN we would have stimulated the economy for long-term economic health.  Infrastructure investments also strengthen the economy - they are like the capex investments in our widget factory.  Roads, dams, power generation and distribution (like TVA and WPA), all provide the framework for robust growth.
iliana
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23 posted 03-20-2006 06:35 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Makes sense to me, Reb.  Thanks.
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24 posted 03-20-2006 07:17 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ringo, I feel fairly safe in saying that if those figures were in effect with a Democratic president in office, they would be heralded loud and clear by every person who now claims the economy is going down the drain...such is politics
 
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