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March 21, 2008


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You forgot to mention Iraq war. ($3 trillion)

Joshua --

I didn't forget -- I was quoting Parade.

Sorry I meant to say "they" forgot. My mistake.

A few points on the Iraq war figure. First, $3 trillion is an estimate for the total. All the other numbers are annual, so presumably it's just included in the Military line.

Next, 3 trillion is just someone's estimate. Hawks lowball it and doves highball it. Who knows what the actual number will be when it's all said and done?

Finally, much has been made of Iraq being the most expensive war ever. I would argue that it only appears that way because we have all-volunteer armed forces. In past big wars like Vietnam and WWII we used the draft. Instead of spreading the burden of paying fair market value for the servicemen's labor among all the taxpayers, it pushed the opportunity cost burden onto the young men themselves. It also kept that cost off the books. In that sense, this is the first big war whose labor costs are being properly accounted.

I love how the government works with money! Joshua is dead on about leaving out the cost of the war, but the government does that on purpose so people don't stop paying their taxes!!! :)

They conveniently leave out HUGE expenses and put them in "suppementals" that never count against the deficit.

It would be like me telling the wife, "This 'Vette I just bought, it doesn't count against our budget." Except in this case, I'd be able to buy a fleet of nuclear subs and not count them.

They also "borrow" against the Social Security trust. The deficit is always higher in reality than the worthless paper they print it on.

One more thing: Priorities. Where the heck is education? It's the one thing that holds us back. And it's long overdue. We have 20-30 years to make up. If only we spent some of that military budget on figuring out how to educate our children to the degree that they could compete with their overseas counterparts.

@Billspaced, "One more thing: Priorities. Where the heck is education?"

I'm not sure how Parade chose to list what they did but I don't they do seem to omit education spending.

The Whitehouse page has a document breaking down expenditures per government deptarment.:

The Dept. of Education spent $68.2B in 2007 and the estimate for 2008 is $66.5B. But the overwhelming majority of education funding in the USA is at the state and local levels.


Ah, Social Security. Everyone's favorite, most expensive pyramid scheme!

What about debt repayment and interest payments?

The list is only about 60% of the total $2.93 trillion budget for the year. (A staggering amount of money to spend in one year -- about $10,000 per every American.) The full budget in all its glory can be found here:

Just goes to show that federal government spending does NOT go down when you have a republican in the White House. George W. Bush likes to portray himself as a "true conservative," but apparently he didn't get the memo about limited government and fiscal restraint.

$14.3 Billion for humanitarian aid vs. $583 billion for military + the Iraq fiasco not included in that figure. What a sad statement on our world.

I've been cynical about government spending for a long time, not just at the Federal level, but also at the state, county and local levels. Our local budget is up 8% this year over last year. Just one year ago we passed (I voted no) a 1% sales tax for local school infrastructure. Now, just a year later the board is recommending a 3% property tax increase (on top of what the local council wants and on top of the significant annual increase from property re-assessment) in order to pay for "needed school programs". I have two kids in the schools and typically will vote yes on bond issues but I'm ready to throw in the towel. The spending increases never end.

What do people think of the eventual impact on investment portfolios from endless federal deficits and endless tax and fee increases at the lower levels.

Man.....aren't you glad you brought up this subject?

@ Billspaced:

Most of the money spent on education is at the state and local level---where it should be. Federal spending has a way of being wasted.

As a % of Gross Domestic Product the US spends about as much on education as most other developed countries. Unfortunately, we don't have much to show for our money based on our poor showing on international comparisons of test scores.

Remember the number for Social Security is portrayed kind of incorrectly considering that SS is an entitlement that is separately funded. The cost they are talking about is due to the fact that we have bankrupted the social security system in the sense that we have borrowed every penny of it to pay for other things, so the costs in the budget related to SS are the "IOUs" we taxpayers have to the SS system that's been drained.

This post ignores one of the biggest expenses: interest on the national debt.

As a life-long military dependent/civil service employee I would rather see my tax dollars pay a military member to work than to pay a person on welfare to stay home. And, yes, Federal employees, including the military all pay taxes too!

Guess what? A professional high-tech military with state-of-the-art equipment costs lot of money. Our healthcare system for the elderly and disabled is not cheap and will not get cheaper. People need to concede this. There will be more old people around with chronic health conditions. Either we ration it or keep spending a lot.

Social Security should actually be reported as negative since more is being collected than spent currently. This war may be $3 trillion, but no telling what the next one may be.

Where is the interest on the national debt???

We need a "Department of the Peace". It would cost so little.The Government would go broke. No more wars and control mechanisms and/or schemes which keep this country held hostage by those suit and tie folks in D.C. No more regulating my life. Ivan (In terms of big brother) is alive and well. Why are the jails open 24/7 and the libraries (education) not? Seems we have our priorities mixed up. It is so clear. The truth will always be my government of choice. Truth cannot be programmed. It is an individual choice. However, they are so eager locking up people in jail/prison with all the power and money. To include seperating families, etc. etc...Those framers of the U.S Constitution knew exactly what they were doing. Over time there have been (please help) how many amendments to my rights? As well as YOUR RIGHTS. We (the people) may not agree upon everything we think. However, it is not the RIGHT of the government to force its will upon me than turn its back on me WITH ITS DEBT and use its propaganda in doing so. What a seditious and treasonous act to do against my truths my will? Since day one they have tried to abolish my rights and program your minds. The truth may never be programed. I love my country.

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