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Wars sending U.S. into ruin | Eric Margolis | Columnists | Comment | Toronto Sun

More empires have fallen because of reckless finances than invasion. The latest example was the Soviet Union, which spent itself into ruin by buying tanks.

Washington's deficit (the difference between spending and income from taxes) will reach a vertiginous $1.6 trillion US this year. The huge sum will be borrowed, mostly from China and Japan, to which the U.S. already owes $1.5 trillion. Debt service will cost $250 billion.

To spend $1 trillion, one would have had to start spending $1 million daily soon after Rome was founded and continue for 2,738 years until today.

Obama's total military budget is nearly $1 trillion. This includes Pentagon spending of $880 billion. Add secret black programs (about $70 billion); military aid to foreign nations like Egypt, Israel and Pakistan; 225,000 military "contractors" (mercenaries and workers); and veterans' costs. Add $75 billion (nearly four times Canada's total defence budget) for 16 intelligence agencies with 200,000 employees.

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars ($1 trillion so far), will cost $200-250 billion more this year, including hidden and indirect expenses. Obama's Afghan "surge" of 30,000 new troops will cost an additional $33 billion -- more than Germany's total defence budget.

they bought tanks, we bought banks!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 24th, 2010 at 10:26:22 PM EST
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It starts as another fantasy world piece that imagines that the US would be better off mired in a deep rather than a shallow depression, since a deep depression is what we would have got from full-on Coolidge speculation followed by full-on Hoover fiscal policy in response to the Panic of 2008.

And the elephant in the room, the fact that the US consumes 1/4 of the world's oil supply, and imports twice what we produce, completely ignored.

But then it slides toward reality, since the military spending includes such a major contribution to the US trade deficit, and its the trade deficit that causes the capital inflows from overseas, no the government deficit.

If we spent the same $1T on things that would reduce our trade deficit by as much as $1T in military spending will increase our trade deficit, it would be a budget deficit very well spent indeed.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 01:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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