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July 14, 2010

America's Bizarre Budget Priorities: Money For Wars Not Education
Posted by Michael Cohen

Loyal DA reader; see if you can figure out what's wrong with this few sentences from this Christian Science Monitor article on Dave Obey's efforts to increase funding for the nation's teachers:

There's broad, bipartisan support for the $58.8 billion the Senate approved on May 27 to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ($37.1 billion), Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange ($13.4 billion), Haiti earthquake relief ($2.9 billion), the Gulf oil spill ($162 million), and other disaster relief. 

At issue is the $22 billion in additional spending that the House added to the Senate bill on July 1, including $10 billion to hire teachers or prevent widespread teacher layoffs this fall, $5 billion to cover an expected shortfall in Pell grants for college students, and $700 million for border security. 

Rep. David Obey (D) of Wisconsin, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, initially proposed $23 billion for teachers. But he had to pare it back to $10 billion after protests from fiscal conservatives in the House Democratic caucus. 

Ok, I guess I made that too easy. 

There are times when you really start to wonder about what kind of screwed up place Washington has become when $37 billion for a war in Afghanistan to combat an enemy of approximately 400-500 terrorists (50-100 of which are actually in Afghanistan) is uncontroversial . . . but $23 billion for teachers has to be pared back because it will blow up the deficit. 

To make matters even worse Obey is trying to offset the $10 billion for teachers by making significant cuts in the Obama Administration's effective "Race to the Top" program, which is supporting education reform efforts around the country. So to hire more teachers, Obey is willing to undercut efforts to improve education reform. Brilliant.

It's also worth mentioning here that the same US Senate where there is broad, bipartisan support for funding the war effort in Afghanistan has been tied up in knots for eight weeks over extending unemployment insurance for those Americans who can't find work in the midst of an economic downturn - as well as funding that will keep state government from making draconian budget cuts. This comes even after the Senate found spending offsets for the approximately $30 billion spending bill. (As near I can tell the supplemental contains only offsets for increased funding for teachers - and no offsets for the more than $37 billion in war spending).

So again, money for fighting wars - uncontroversial and unpaid for. Money for helping the unemployed and preventing teacher layoffs - meh.

This is not to say that funding the troops while they are in harm's way is unimportant; considering the mission we've asked them to fulfill, it certainly is. But it speaks volumes about the priorities in Washington that we have now spent more than a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (all on a Chinese credit card) and that raises few hackles on Capitol Hill; but relatively small expenditures for our own citizens in the midst of an economic downturn produces partisan gridlock and solemn declarations that we are imperiling future generations by growing the budget deficit. 

Imagine what a different world we would live in if every time the US government decided to engage in an overseas adventure - they actually had to pay for it.


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We spend more on the military than the rest of the industrial nations combined. It is time to stop that obscene madness.

Imagine what a different world we would live in if every time the US government decided to engage in an overseas adventure - they actually had to pay for it.

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Thanks for putting very useful topics here.I would only say that Obama does not believe in the rule of law. He has shown this repeatedly.

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I would only say that Obama does not believe in the rule of law. He has shown this repeatedly.

I agree with this article most definitely. It shocks me that in a time of great recession the federal government is not able to provide more money to states with budget problems but will continue to fund a somewhat failing war effort, at least from what I notice. I posted an article on this very topic that had some more fascinating numbers, check it out!

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This is not to say that funding the troops while they are in harm's way is unimportant; considering the mission we've asked them to fulfill, it certainly is. But it speaks volumes about the priorities in Washington that we have now spent more than a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (all on a Chinese credit card) and that raises few hackles on Capitol Hill; but relatively small expenditures for our own citizens in the midst of an economic downturn produces partisan gridlock and solemn declarations that we are imperiling future generations by growing the budget deficit.sesli sohbet seslichat seslisohbet seslichat

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