Monday, February 11, 2008

One Hundred Years of Recession 

The heck with Congress' big stimulus bill. The way to get the country out of recession - and most people think we're in one - is to get the country out of Iraq, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey, followed by spending more on domestic programs, cutting taxes and, at the bottom end, giving rebates to poor people in hopes they'll spend the economy into recovery.

-- "AP Poll: To Fix Economy, Get Out Of Iraq,"
Associated Press, 2/10/08

As President Bush backs out the White House door, he is asking Congress to appropriate enough money for the coming fiscal year to enable the Pentagon and its government sidekicks to spend $1.2 million a minute on what is loosely called national defense . . . . No ordinary person can get a sense of how much money that is. It helps to divide the $608.6 billion by the 365 days in a year and realize Bush’s new defense budget will cost the taxpayers $1.7 billion a day. This works out to $1.2 million a minute counting Saturdays and Sundays. Yet the main threat to the country as advertised by Bush are terrorists who have no standing army; no warships; no warplanes; no tanks; no satellites.
-- George C. Wilson, Congress Daily

That’s a hell of a lot of money. Among other things, it’s a lot closer to 7% of GDP than “4%.” It helps ensure massive deficits even in “good times.”
-- Jim Henley, Unqualified Offerings

In the past decade, Senator McCain has supported unsheathing the saber against a variety of enemies from Serbia to Iraq, Iran, and Sudan. And in the present, as Matt Welch writes in his new book The Myth of a Maverick, the senator from Arizona “envisions a more militaristic foreign policy than any U.S. president in a century” . . . . when voters go to the polls, there will be plenty of information available to indicate that a vote for McCain is a vote for perpetual war and occupation.
-- Justin Logan, Cato Institute

The United States military could stay in Iraq for "maybe a hundred years" and that "would be fine with me," John McCain told two hundred or so people at a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, on Thursday evening . . . . After the event ended, I asked McCain about his "hundred years" comment, and he reaffirmed the remark, excitedly declaring that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for "a thousand years" or "a million years," as far as he was concerned.
-- David Corn, MoJoBlog

Now wait a minute here. Surely John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, understands the fiscal impact of one (1) full century in Iraq at a cost of $1.2 million a minute. Surely he knows something that 48% of the respondents to that AP-Ipsos poll do not. Surely he's got . . . a plan. We're guessing he's been reading up on the subprime loan crisis. We're guessing he means to unload another hundred years' worth of bad U.S. debt on the Red Chinese, so that when they finally call in that quadrillion-dollar note in the year 2108 . . . we won't be able to pay it! And their whole economy will collapse! On the spot! Without a single shot being fired!

Or maybe . . . maybe . . . .

Regret what? That secret operation [arming the mujahedeen] was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
-- Zbigniew Brzezinski, interview with
Le Nouvel Observateur (France), 1998

. . . maybe the ChiComs did flip him in that North Vietnamese prison camp, just as the right-wing-freakiest of the right-wing freaks have been saying all along. Maybe it's our economy that's in the crosshairs. Maybe he is a Manchurian Candidate!

The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should. I've got Greenspan's book.

UPDATE: Our learned colleague R. Gathman of Limited, Inc., patiently explains why we should not hold our collective breath awaiting the economic boost from an Iraq pullout, even under a non-Manchurian candidate:
There's only one problem with this - it would actually work. And that would bring down upon the Dems the collective wrath of the Petro-Gun club in D.C. Imagine, if you will, a sort of nightmare in which Pinocchio sees all the candy canes at the fair melting before his eyes - that same sinking feeling would inhabit the poor generic Dem Politicians soul as the opportunity for legal graft from the people who have the serious money in the country evaporates. It is one thing to ineffectually oppose Bush’s war plans – throwing sops to suckers is just good business. But to follow the money – why, that’s getting personal.

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