George W has now submitted his budget to Congress, and it can be summed up by this lopsided score: Domestic needs, zero. The Pentagon, 515 billion.
Bush’s budget slashes health care programs, from Medicare to the medical needs of 9-11 rescue workers. He also makes drastic cuts in such other crucial efforts as the centers for disease control, low-income energy assistance, and family literacy. But he piles half-a-trillion bucks in the Pentagon’s vaults – and that does not included the money he’s throwing down the hell-hole of Iraq. Under Bush accounting rules, war costs are off budget, charged to the credit card of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren… and beyond.
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Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has calculated the total cost of just the first four years of George’s Iraq misadventure. Counting such deferred costs as interest on the war debt and long-term care for the wounded, the tab is $720 million per day.
The American Friends Service Committee has analyzed what else besides this misbegotten war America could buy with only one-day’s worth of the money we’re spending there. For $720 million we could:
• Provide health coverage for 424,000 children.
• Build 84 brand new schools.
• Buy school lunches for 1.2 million needy kids.
• Provide 6,482 units of affordable housing.
• Pay for renewable-energy electricity in 1.3 million homes.
• Pay the annual salaries of 12,500 new classroom teachers.
• Put 35,000 students through a 4-year state college.
Any of these could be had for just one day of war funding. This great country has the money to do what needs to be done – if only our “leaders” stop frittering it away on their ideological crusades.
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