Monday, August 11, 2014

The Six Trillion Dollar Policeman: Iraq war money could have been used for a new WPA, a new CCC, debt relief, and more

(America's political "leaders" just can't resist being the world's policemen--no matter what the cost--even as millions of their own constituents sink further and further into financial despair. WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)
In 2013, a study from Brown University indicated that the ultimate cost of the Iraq War could top $6 trillion (see "Iraq war cost: $6 trillion. What else could have been done?"). Now that we've been sucked back into the violence there, and are likely to get sucked back repeatedly for decades to come, $6 trillion may be a low estimate.

The money spent on the Iraq War--at present and in the future (e.g., veteran health care)--could have funded a new WPA to modernize our infrastructure, a new CCC to repair our environment, and it could have wiped out all the student loan debt that Americans are struggling with today. It could have done all those things and much more.

We were told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that they were planning to use them against us, that we would be welcomed with open arms, that oil would pay for the war, and that the post-invasion management of Iraq would be a cakewalk. Well, they didn't, they weren't, we weren't, it isn't, and it's not. Every step of the way was a lie or a miscalculation (you choose which). Instead of investing in our own people, and our own infrastructure, we invested in the destabilization of a country. And, as one might expect, Iraq is now in a state of chaos.

America's middle-class and poor desperately need a new and stronger New Deal. We need better jobs, more opportunities, and relief from crushing and usurious debt. Unfortunately, very few of the financial & political powers-that-be (people who don't need job opportunities or debt relief) are willing to consider another New Deal. Indeed, many of them are too busy cursing the poor and planning the next foreign boondoggle.

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