Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]