A couple of thoughts ramble around my head this morning. It being a quiet Monday, let us cogitate:
– As a general rule I am asked to ponder local things, which means I’m not supposed to spend a lot of time on national things, but it is hard not to notice that national things intrude on local, whether we want them to or not.
Consider the current wars, of which there are at least two, although Libya ought to count, and Yemen, and Somalia where we’re sending in mercenaries and pretending we don’t know who they work for, and who knows where else? The Onion a while back ran an article about the military (click) apologizing for forgetting to tell us about the war in Syria, and who knows if that’s still fiction?
Anyway, one of the ways local things are affected by the wars is in money. Notice how the national debt and deficit are both soaring? Notice how budgets are being cut? Notice how senior meals have been reduced? Yes there is a connection.
This fun web site (click) run by the National Priorities Project gives a running tally of just the wars that are more-or-less official, in Iraq and Afghanistan. See the pretty numbers roll by? $1.23 trillion and counting. You can also break it down by state ($6.6 billion for Utah) city ($170 million for Ogden) counties (they only show Salt Lake and Utah) and congressional district ($2.17 billion for Rob Bishop’s 1st Congressional District).
Isn’t that fun? Anyone else here thinK an extra $7 billion would have come in handy for Utah over the last decade?
Every dime of that cost was added to the national debt, none of it paid by taxes (thanks to tax cuts by both Bush and Obama) and all of it represents non-productive money taken out of the economy that could have much better been spent on schools, health care, infrastructure, and so on and so forth. Or just on keeping our national debt from growing.
Oh yeah, and the wars also killed 5,000 and wounded another 44,000, plus another 100,000 or so traumatic brain injuries, PTSDs and on and on. Can’t forget them!
And we note with displeasure that Iraq is still exploding (click), and Afghanistan and everything connected to it continue to be a complete FUBAR (click) so I think we can consider our $1.3 trillion pretty badly spent.
I’m not for one minute advocating it, but this sort of thing does make one yearn for the days — mostly mythical — when a country could invade someone, steal gold or cotton or slaves or something useful, and actually come out ahead on the deal.
Wait, wasn’t that what we were told about the War in Iraq? Yup.
— Is 2012 already decided? I keep wondering. Obama still has fully a third of his first term to work through, and since Gov. Perry of Tex tossed his hat into the ring, I’m seeing a lot of commentery (click) about why he’s likely to win.
I wish this whole campaign would go away — States trying to get publicity by hosting ever-earlire campaign events that allegedly mean something have brought us to the point where we actually give a rat’s patoot about the Iowa staw poll where candidates actually pay voters to show up, and this is supposed to mean something?
And of course Perry, who wasn’t there, is already touted as the strongest challenge to Romney, who also wasn’t there, but the straw poll was still really meaningful, somehow.
Meanwhile, economic disaster looms and wars continue but nothing is going to get done about any of those because everyone’s already looking over their shoulder at next year’s election.
Which, keep in mind, (click) is already pretty much decided.