FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Oh Say Can You See the 2009 Budget?

by Col. DAN SMITH

On January 23, the Congressional Budget Office released an update on spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for reconstruction, and for “war on terror” associated projects.

CBO put the combined costs at $691 billion, of which nearly two-thirds–$440 billion ­has been poured into Iraq. CBO estimates the current monthly expenditure for war-fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq comes to $11 billion, but the administration’s 2008 requests are said to be at least $193 billion. This translates into a significantly higher monthly “burn rate”–more like $16 billion.

These numbers may be old hat to many of you, but unless you can roll the big ones off your tongue without thinking twice–or that the national debt now stands at $9.6 trillion, up from $5.3 trillion when Bush started his first term in office, or that the minimum raid on the Treasury to pay for the “economic stimulus package” will be another $150 billion–you must not feel in your bones just how much damage this president has done to the country.

But there is some “sorta” good news. The administration will not rent a truck this year to haul 537 copies of the President’s 3,000 page Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2009 to Capitol Hill so that each member of Congress can have a copy. The Office of Management and Budget will post the entire budget on the White House Internet URL.

The notice of the change appeared first on the White House Internet portal, from where the Wire Services and CNN picked it up. The person who posted the notice pointed out that a number of trees had been spared from the woodsman’s axe to grow at least one more ring. However, the approximate number of trees that were spared remains unknown as of this posting.

I have my own theories as to why the White House is not providing Members of Congress with a hard copy of the Budget:

-not enough money in the Treasury to pay for the ink and paper;

-not enough mature trees still standing to convert into paper;

-no available credit to buy gasoline for the truck–assuming they can find someone willing to loan them a truck;

-the truck driver is a union member;

-should they miscalculate again, they can change the figures or, in extremis, claim they lost another batch of e-mails.

In the end, the White House did offer an alternative: a Member could get a printed and bound copy of the budget from the Government Printing Office for $200. How long this might take is unclear, however, as the traditional source for quills–Canadian geese–all seem to have flown north ever since the buying power of a “loony” (the nickname for Canadian dollars) surpassed that of the American eagle.

Col. DAN SMITH is a retired U.S. Army colonel and a senior fellow on military affairs at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Email at dan@fcnl.org.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail