>Fiscal Phonies Revealed

>Just repeating what I said yesterday, but when House “Blue Dog” Dems and Republicans approve billions for war on the Chinese credit card, you know damn well that talk about the budget deficit is just propaganda and empty rhetoric:

In the House vote, 148 Democrats and 160 Republicans backed the war spending, but 102 Democrats joined 12 Republicans in opposing the measure. Last year, 32 Democrats opposed a similar midyear spending bill. Among those voting against the bill on Tuesday was Representative David R. Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat and the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the panel responsible for the measure.

Some of the Democratic opposition stemmed from the decision by party leaders to strip from the bill money that had been included in the original House version to help address the weak economy at home, including funds to help preserve teachers’ jobs. But some of those voting against it said they were influenced by the leaked documents, which highlight the American military’s struggles in Afghanistan and support claims that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service were helping the Taliban.

And count me among the few voices saying it was right to strip funds for teachers and other projects from this bill. Dammit, liberals, are you really trying to tell me that you think it’s okay to hold education and our economic recovery hostage to war spending? Are you kidding me? The argument that we need to fund the war so we can fund teacher pay is the worst sort of immoral bullshit policy debate anyone ever cooked up. No, no, no. You do not “sweeten” war spending. That is appalling.

Here’s how they voted. Big shocker that phony local fiscal hawks like Zach Wamp, Marsha Blackburn, Jim Cooper and the rest voted Yes to spend $59 billion on wars while our schools crumble, our infrastructure is in disarray, unemployment remains widespread, state budgets are strapped, etc. etc. I mean, these are the same frauds who said we couldn’t afford an extension of unemployment benefits during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? Give me a break. You guys are worse than frauds: you’re heartless and immoral. You’ll pay for war but not food or education? You’ve lost any credibility where issues like the supposed “deficit crisis” are concerned. You just approved $59 billion that wasn’t “budget neutral” to be pissed away in a sandhole on the other side of the world. And for what?

Am I the only one remembering when the healthcare bill had to be “budget neutral”? Why do wars never have to be “budget netural”? We’re knocking on the door of 10 years in Afghanistan, people. A decade of war, costing us how many billions of dollars? Is it a trillion? This is, indeed, how empires fall. Study your history, people.

Of Tennessee’s delegation, only Memphis Democrat Steve Cohen and Knoxville Republican John Duncan Jr. voted no on this farce. The rest of you guys, every last one of you, are frauds.


Filed under Afghanistan War, budget, deficit, Iraq War

21 responses to “>Fiscal Phonies Revealed

  1. >I guess Obama needs these wars. They're the only major spending bills that have broad bi-partisan support. How did we come to this as a nation?Wars used to be somewhat deficit-neutral, or even pay for themselves. All you have to do is plunder, capture slaves and demand tribute. Nothing else about war has changed very much except maybe remote control murder.

  2. >So I get your frustration, but it's important to note that the bill included $200 million for flood relief. Like it or not, Tennessee needed that money.

  3. >Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR: Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening.Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations.Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.See her unconstitutional votes at :http://mickeywhite.blogspot.com/2009/09/tn-congressman-marsha-blackburn-votes.htmlMickey

  4. >More and more I'm convinced that the only reason we are still funding these wars is no one wants a couple hundred thousand troops coming home to an economy sucking wind and 10% unemployment.War is our hometown jobs program now. And Anonymous, that $200 million for flood relief shouldn't have been attached to a war supplemental.

  5. >SB – I agree with you that it shouldn't have been attached. But it was.And people who lost everything still needed that money. On the flip side, if they voted against it, the tagline could have been "Representatives vote against assistance for flood victims." And it wasn't the RIGHT place to include the funding, but it is what it is.

  6. >Well I'm not arguing against $200 mil for flood relief in a $59 billion war funding bill! If Tennessee needed that money then I'm glad we got it. That's not what's being debated here.For crying out loud. That shit can be separated out and it's immoral to stick it in there as a way of coercing folks to vote for it who might not have otherwise (I'm not saying that's why Cooper voted as he did, I honestly don't know … I'm speaking more about the teacher funding than anything else. But the point remains …) How did we vote to send money to Haiti? Was that attached to a war bill?Honestly the procedural crap is not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the fact that we've spend hundreds of billions of dollars on wars that we've waged for 10 years and NO ONE is talking about the absurdity of self-proclaimed fiscal "hawks" voting for war but not voting for domestic spending.Does anyone seriously think if Tennessee needed money for flood relief we wouldn't have gotten it another way?

  7. Jim

    >SB – I do agree that the war spending needs to stop. However, that does not necessarily mean we need to increase domestic spending.As to the hypocrits in Congress – that is pretty much all of Congress on some topic or the other. That is another reason I don't care for federal programs because it is hard to change the federal government philosophy. There is not much a voter in TN can do to change the federal government when our elected representatives make up such a small part of the government. Programs decided on a federal level have to try to meet the desires of the entire nation (or whatever corporation is buying the legislation). But, the desires of people in TN will not necessarily match up with the desires of people in NY or TX. More programs need to be decided and run on a state level.

  8. >Jim:Do you ever think? Or is the babbling you do a substitute that comforts you? Your answer to every problem is to cut funding for everything. You're an idiot, and arguing with idiots is a losing proposition. Educate yourself and stop looking so much like the ass that you are.

  9. >Arguments that focus exclusively on cost miss the point. The issue is what you get for your money. Getting hung up on dollar amounts is a bad idea. That said, we are in something of a quandary. We are not getting our money's worth in Afghanistan, that much is certain, but even if you believe we should leave it's hard to justify pulling the plug on day-to-day operating costs on our soldiers. (Of course, the Pentagon typically keeps enough cash on hand for 6-8 month of operations, so it's not like the soldiers would be stranded the next day, but you don't hear about that).As to your broader point about fiscal hawks…you'll brook no argument from me. I'm really confused by your comment about troops coming home to a bad economy, though. It's not like those troops would be demobilized and sent into unemployment.

  10. >It's not like those troops would be demobilized and sent into unemployment.It's not? You mean they are all career military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't think so.And what about all of our military contractors? I mean, I'm not up to date on the latest figures so don't sue me if I"m wrong on this but we've got something like 200,000 military in Iraq & Afghanistan, and another 100,000 or so contractors? That's 300,000 people fighting wars? If we were to end the wars today and bring everyone home what are all those folks supposed to do?We started seeing Iraq veterans at our homeless shelters here in Nashville around 4 years ago. It's a big problem and shouldn't be ignored.

  11. Jim

    >Use those soldiers to patrol our borders – i.e. defend our country like the Army should.

  12. >300,000 soldiers deployed along the border. Welcome to your conservative Jackboot Nation. Talk about big government!Yes, this is your nation on conservatism. They don't even understand what they are saying. Democommie was right.Oy.

  13. >@ Southern Beale: Most of those contractors are locals and third-world nationals that will never see American shores. Employers use them to lower personnel costs and gain higher profit margins. I doubt that the end of the war would have a significant effect on the unemployment rate. Setting aside the absurdity of 300,000 border guards, I do wonder why we haven't pushed for a massive construction project along the Southern border. If we can't get a second stimulus through the front door, we might be able to back-door a bit of it by employing tens of thousands of civilians on something that the GOP can't oppose.-Anon 4:20

  14. >I'm also not sure about your comment on "career" military personnel. Given that the armed forces are trying to expand, any soldier returning home should have little trouble re-enlisting, and even if they don't want to be a part of the Big Green machine for 20 years service in the peace-time army would preferable to taking their chances in this job market.

  15. >Given that the armed forces are trying to expand …They are? Whatever for, save to wage our two-front war? Without that war, why would they need to?You know, I remember when Rumsfeld wanted to cut our military, saying we needed to use advanced technology and be a "lighter, more agile" military force. Of course, the MIC raised an uproar over that. Without Iraq and Afghanistan, why would we need to expand our military? Who is in favor of that? Certainly not the left. What is this, a freaking military dictatorship, with the In fact, there is growing momentum on both right and left to shrink or even shutter our operations around the world. We can't afford to be the world's police force and keep massive military bases in places like Germany and Japan. It's ridiculous.And by the way, border fences didn't work for ancient China, and they certainly won't work for modern America. Stupidest idea the right has ever come up with.If border fences were so effective how come every time a right winger wants to illustrate "illegal immigration" in a fearmongering direct mail piece or video, they always show brown people pouring over a gigantic fence?

  16. >Yes, without the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq it would appear that we have little need to maintain a larger standing army. Nevertheless, the most recent FY2011 budget request projects a net increase in military personnel of 77,000 across the armed forces when compared to 2007. Much of that can be attributed to the increased personnel needs of counterinsurgency and public diplomacy in general. Most people aren't aware of the strides we have made in joint exercises and training in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. Those initiatives have undoubtedly improves our relations abroad at relatively little cost, but they do require servicemen in uniform. There's a broad consensus among counterinsurgency types that while we should avoid large scale counterinsurgencies in the future wherever possible, we must maintain that capability. It's ironic that you would reference Rumsfeld, since his fervent embrace of a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) helped land us in this mess. Rumsfeld's idea was that we could spend all our money on next generation weapons instead of soldiers and win our wars quickly and cleanly. If we hadn't gone down that road we might have never have invaded Iraq and we might have actually shut the door on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in 2002. Read State of Denial, Cobra II, or Fiasco if you want to see what a "lighter, more agile" mission created.We don't need to be the entire police force of the world, but we need to be able to lead other nations for cooperative security. That's what we're doing off the coast of Somalia right now, and in the Caribbean, and in Southeast Asia. How can you just throw up your hands and leave the field when we know that terrorists can use havens ten thousand miles away to launch attacks? We may not need an army of 100,000 men in Afghanistan but we definitely need dozens of small deployments to show the flag in a positive way and develop relationships. As a percentage of national wealth our defense expenditures are very sustainable. Historically, 7 percent GDP is a bargain for any empire. There's definitely too much waste and redundancy in the system and we can afford to make some cuts but your empire collapse rhetoric is unfounded (by comparison: USSR spent 15-17 percent GDP in the 1980's). Our future entitlement spending comprises a much bigger percentage and will be what does us in if we ever reach that point.

  17. >Vast parts of the US frontier have no physical obstacles. Are you really using right-wing propaganda as evidence for your argument? By no means am I saying that border fences are a silver bullet, but they are a critical part of a greater package. Immigration is an economic problem driven by economic incentives. You can only get a handle on the problem by both increasing the costs and hassle of illegal immigration while decreasing the costs of either staying in Mexico or immigrating legally. Ideally, we would build an effective fence while providing a path to citizenship for otherwise law-abiding illegals. At the same time, we pursuing a comprehensive drug policy of prevention and rehabilitation while taking a greater role in Mexico's fight against drug traffickers so that Mexico can experience the kind of sustained security and economic growth that can relieve some of the pressure to emigrate.This may sound far-fetched, but its truth is shown in the way immigration has decreased since the start of the recession. When the economic gains from immigration disappeared, so did the flow of illegals. Again, if we just build a fence and call it a day we will fail miserably, but without a fence (physical, electronic, whatever form) we will be hard pressed to find a solution.

  18. >Vast parts of the US frontier have no physical obstacles.I'm well aware of that, in fact, I just finished reading the wonderful book "Border Songs" about the US/Canada border which you may enjoy. Fiction but still very much rooted in fact.Those vast parts of the US frontier are inaccessible, remote, largely roadless. The fact that you call it "frontier" points out how fruitless a wall is. The entire debate is stupid.Personally I don't think undocumented people crossing our borders is a big problem. Sorry. Let 'em come. No one has shown me all of this free shit illegals supposedly get – like healthcare or other services. Where is it so I can sign up? It doesn't exist. I've said it a thousand times but the problem is not undocumented workers but our country's addiction to CHEAP LABOR and CHEAP GOODS. If we paid what things were actually worth, and paid people a fair wage for their labor, we'd never again hear that illegals are "doing the jobs that Americans won't" (false) or this sad canard's twin, "illegals are stealing American jobs."Neither is true. The truth is that American jobs have been outsourced to Mexico, China, India, Indonesia, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. etc. etc. Those jobs remaining are performed by illegals willing to work below a living wage.Meanwhile, out of work Americans suck at the teat of FOX News-stoked anger at a convenient punching bag, never bothering to look beneath the rock that is America's cheap labor legacy.

  19. >If undocumented workers can come over the border easily, so can more unsavory characters. An ability to control entry and exit from its borders is a central definition of a state. Even you must admit that it would be better to open up the process for legal immigration rather than permit the status quo to continue. Undocumented workers, while still contributing to this country, cannot contribute as much as legal aliens or full citizens. They simply won't get the same investment of public resources.Blaming the existence of cheap labor for the nation's ills is both futile and self-serving. We've been outsourcing jobs since at least the 1930's, when Japan took over the manufacture of US toys. Those low-value-added jobs eventually left Japan and went to places like Taiwan, then China, and now even China is losing jobs to places like Cambodia and Bangladesh. This is natural and presents an opportunity for countries that have lost their low-level cost advantage to start adding more high-value-added jobs.Instead of complaining about cheap labor you should be demanding that we make greater investments in the skills and value of our work force. We have the resources to create both "creative class" (see Richard Florida) jobs and new jobs in manufacturing for emerging technologies. We could even help our unemployment rate if we retooled part of our education system to produce more workers in needed jobs that can't be outsourced, like welders and electricians.If we're too inept to use our existing economic advantages to create new value-added jobs and stay ahead of the competition, then we deserve to be eclipsed. The world is a better place for us if we get paid for dreaming up innovative products and then get to buy them up on the cheap from foreign countries. Not everyone can reach that level of employment, but like I said there is a shortage of semi-skilled talent in this country and if we made an effort to address that we could rebuild the lower-middle-class.Btw, it's ironic that you welcome the influx of documented workers while decrying the use of unfair wages. That lack of documentation is precisely what makes immigrants vulnerable to exploitation, but without documents we can't adequately protect them. We need to both limit illegal immigration and facilitate legal immigration.

  20. >Hello to all.If you want a good site to check out,try Globalissues.org and look at World Military Spending.A good bunch of info there.

  21. >T.E.Shaw is trying to sound like a conservagressive.