Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War Abroad, Poverty at Home

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

The US Senate has voted $165 billion to fund Bush’s wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq through next spring.

As the US is broke and deep in debt, every one of the $165 billion dollars will have to be borrowed. American consumers are also broke and deep in debt. Their zero saving rate means every one of the $165 billion dollars will have to be borrowed from foreigners.

The “world’s only superpower” is so broke it can’t even finance its own wars.

Each additional dollar that the irresponsible Bush Regime has to solicit from foreigners puts more downward pressure on the dollar’s value. During the eight wasted and extravagant years of the Bush Regime, the once mighty US dollar has lost about 60% of its value against the euro.

The dollar has lost even more of its value against gold and oil.

Before Bush began his wars of aggression, oil was $25 a barrel. Today it is $130 a barrel. Some of this rise may result from run-away speculation in the futures market. However, the main cause is the eroding value of the dollar. Oil is real, and unlike paper dollars is limited in supply. With US massive trade and budget deficits, the outpouring of dollar obligations mounts, thus driving down the value of the dollar.

Each time the dollar price of oil rises, the US trade deficit rises, requiring more foreign financing of US energy use. Bush has managed to drive the US oil import bill up from $106 billion in 2006 to approximately $500 billion 18 months later–every dollar of which has to be financed by foreigners.

Without foreign money, the US “superpower” cannot finance its imports or its government’s operation.

When the oil price rises, Americans, who are increasingly poor, cannot pay their winter heating bills. Thus, the Senate’s military spending bill contains more heating subsidies for America’s growing legion of poor people.

The rising price of energy drives up the price of producing and transporting all goods, but American incomes are not rising except for the extremely rich.

The disappearing value of the US dollar, which pushes up oil prices and raises the trade deficit, then pushes up heating subsidies and raises the budget deficit.

If oil was the reason Bush invaded Iraq, the plan obviously backfired. Oil not merely doubled or tripled in price but quintupled.

America’s political leaders either have no awareness that Bush’s wars are destroying our country’s economic position and permanently lowering the living standards of Americans or they do not care. McCain says he can win the war in Iraq in five more years and in the meantime “challenge” Russia and China. Hillary says she will “obliterate” Iran. Obama can’t make up his mind if he is for war or against it.

The Bush Regime’s inability to pay the bills it is piling up for Americans means that future US governments will cut promised benefits and further impoverish the people. Over a year ago The Nation reported that the Bush Regime is shedding veteran costs by attributing consequences of serious war wounds to “personality disorders” in order to deny soldiers promised benefits.

Previous presidents reduced promised Social Security benefits by taxing the benefits (a tax on a tax) and by rigging the cost of living adjustment to understate inflation. Future presidents will have to seize private pensions in order to make minimal Social Security payments.

Currently the desperate Bush Regime is trying to cut Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled.

The Republican Party is willing to fund war, but sees everything else as an extravagance. The neoconized war party is destroying the economic prospects of American citizens. Is “war abroad and poverty at home” the Republican campaign slogan for the November election?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

More articles by:

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

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail