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We Spend More At Wal-Mart Than On War

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We Spend More At Wal-Mart Than On War

Postby StlSluggers » Tue May 08, 2007 12:30 pm

I was absolutely blown away (that was a mod addition) by some stuff in this article.

Last year, spending in Iraq amounted to less than 1 percent of the total economy — about as much as Americans spent shopping online and less than half what they spent at Wal-Mart.

Good reading if you're interested in knowing what's going on with the financial side of the war. If you can't keep your political views out of the way, I suggest not reading the article. It plays both sides of the coin, but those so inclined will only read half of it if they're not prudent.
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Postby theclefe » Tue May 08, 2007 12:36 pm

i love articles like this. It really helps put a perspective on things.
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Postby Absolutely Adequate » Tue May 08, 2007 12:46 pm

My favorite line from the article was this:

Economists skeptical
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Postby Coppermine » Tue May 08, 2007 12:58 pm

I did read the entire article and it does give an excellent perspective from both sides. I can understand how borrowing money is considered sound, fiscal policy in the sense that Americans don't feel the "pinch." However, isn't wartime about the country making sacrifices for the good of the war effort?

Now, the counter to that seems to be that these are different times and the country is quite wealthy compared to how it was in previous wars. The argument is made that lowering taxes now and borrowing money to pay for war has boosted the economy so that paying back the debt won't be as hard. I guess it's convenient that a new administration will have to hold that burden though.

The thing that worries me, and some economists as evidenced by the article is that we're simply putting off the inevitable. That money will affect the economy, it will have to be paid back and its going to come at a time when the baby boomer generation is retiring, in desperate need of Medicare, there won't be enough money for social security and add that to the facts that A.) we don't know how much longer this war will go on, and B.) when it is over, there will be costs associated with reconstruction, both in Iraq and here. Plus medical costs for veterans, something that current vets are having trouble getting covered for right now.

This is all assuming that there won't be a wide scale disaster; natural or otherwise, in the US during that time. Add to that rising fuel costs, a raging debate on climate change, an economic powerhouse developing in China, and a booming population... sure, we all feel pretty comfortable now. We haven't had to sacrifice a thing for this war; unless you count a stable Middle East and thousands of lives in our military.

You can't put a price tag on that.
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Re: We Spend More At Wal-Mart Than On War

Postby StlSluggers » Tue May 08, 2007 1:00 pm

StlSluggers wrote:I was absolutely blown away (that was a mod addition)

Ha! :-B
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Postby Mookie4ever » Tue May 08, 2007 1:11 pm

According to the article the war has cost $609 B since 9/11.

The US Department of Education has a budget of $67.2 B per year. So to put this in perspective, the fed govt spends more on this war than they do on education.
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Postby StlSluggers » Tue May 08, 2007 1:13 pm

Mookie4ever wrote:According to the article the war has cost $609 B since 9/11.

The US Department of Education has a budget of $67.2 B per year. So to put this in perspective, the fed govt spends more on this war than they do on education.

And we spend twice as much as that at Wal-Mart. :-o
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Postby Yoda » Tue May 08, 2007 1:14 pm

I'd rather spend my money at Walmart for some crap I don't need rather than see it go to waste on a stupid war that isn't ours.
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Postby AcidRock23 » Tue May 08, 2007 1:15 pm

Niall Fergusson, a very entertaining economic historian, has pointed out in his work Colossus, that the bonds floated to pay for the foreign policy adventurism are largely held in Asia, particularly China. He attributes this to both the Chinese cultural affinity for saving and the lack of anything whatsoever to blow money on for a long time. The book can be a bit dense w/ a lot of stuff about bond rates and interest rates but he makes a good case that we would be better off 'investing' our national pocketbook in infrastructure and the medical system to care for our aging population.
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Postby StlSluggers » Tue May 08, 2007 1:23 pm

Mookie4ever wrote:According to the article the war has cost $609 B since 9/11.

The US Department of Education has a budget of $67.2 B per year. So to put this in perspective, the fed govt spends more on this war than they do on education.

Getting off topic here, I know, but this article on "IQ, Birth Rates, and Education" had an interesting observation about American education:

...one line of reasoning goes, the key to productivity and individual achievement is education-rather than individual traits that predict educational success.

If that reasoning were sound, we would be in increasingly excellent shape, compared with the rest of the world. The United States has decisively left the competition behind in sending its population to school.
...
Sending more people to school has no doubt produced benefits in the quality of American life, but instead of an educated populace, we find widespread illiteracy and its mathematical equivalent, innumeracy. Many Americans are going to school more but, apparently, learning less.
...
We now know, to our regret, that something more fundamental than schooling per se explains the historical role of education as a ladder to economic success.
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