Tag Archives: Iraq war

how about $3 trillion in economic stimulus?

Suppose for a minute that we had the $3 trillion* or so that the United States is spending on the Iraq war, and we could instead do something reasonable with all that wasted money. The first thing to immediately pop into my mind is, “Hey — instead of sending certain adults a piddly $600 tax rebate as a way to supposedly provide economic stimulus, plus $300 for kids under 17, the government could send every single person in America $10,000!”

Instead of the $1,800 my family is due to receive next month, we’d get $40,000. It would be like a “Get Out of Debt (Almost) Free” card for us. And although I’m feeling financially stressed right now, my family is in good shape compared to a large segment of our population — imagine what $10,000 per person would do for people who are losing their homes or trying to decide between putting a few gallons in the gas tank or putting food on the table.

Of course, Mr. Bush’s government would never dream of spending $3 trillion on helping Americans financially. No, that would somehow qualify as a Big Government Program that Must Be Avoided, kind of like spending a few billion on health care for poor children, or funding national Head Start or full-day kindergarten (or, for that matter, paying teachers a reasonable salary). Somehow it’s OK to throw away an unimaginable amount of money on a war we shouldn’t even be in, but spending that same money to benefit American citizens would be wasteful and wrong.

https://i1.wp.com/gobnf.org/i/3t/3trillionlogo.gifBut enough ranting about what our government would or would not do with $3 trillion. Now, you can make your own choice about how to spend that pile of dough! Check out the $3 Trillion Shopping Spree. Go ahead: buy Amazon.com for $514,710,000.00; put up your own billboard in Times Square ($2,000,000.00); provide food, shelter, spay and neuter services, and vet care for all homeless, neglected, and unwanted pets in America for a year ($15,000,000,000.00); rehabilitate a water well and help provide safe drinking water for a family or town ($170.00); provide universal preschool — half days for 3 year olds and full days for 4 year olds — for all the children in America ($35,000,000,000.00); reduce class size in grades pre-K to 3rd grade to 10/per teacher, 4th-8th grade to 15/teacher, and 9th-12th grade to 20/teacher ($100,000,000,000.00); pay 1,000 teachers’ salaries ($39,274,000.00); or choose from thousands of other options. Add them to your virtual shopping cart, and then send the resulting list to your friends. Go on, knock yourself out: spending that much is easy! Just ask George W. Bush and his “Smaller Government, Less Wasteful Spending” friends.

* Here’s where the $3 trillion comes from:

  • $526 billion — borrowed money poured into Iraq so far
  • $615 billion — total interest costs for taxpayers
  • $280 billion — to rebuild our military
  • $590 billion — disability benefits and health care for Iraq veterans
  • $1.5 trillion — estimated costs through 2017

Merry Christmas, Staff Sergeant

I completely and bitterly oppose the war in Iraq.

I completely and warmly admire and respect the soldiers who serve there.

A former coworker’s son is currently leading a platoon of 30 guys in Iraq. She’s a single mom, and he’s her only child. She hasn’t seen him in, I think, nearly two years; they communicate whenever possible by email. This soldier’s mom opposes the war but, needless to say, supports any and all efforts to lend comfort and support to those who serve. She’s taken it upon herself to organize regular mailings of snacks, magazines, and other goodies to her son’s platoon members, some of whom receive no mail otherwise.

With Christmas approaching, she learned that some of the soldiers also receive no gifts, cards, or any other recognition of the holiday. And, of course, it’s a difficult day for the entire platoon, so far from home and family. So, she asked her friends to consider providing a Christmas box for a platoon member, to ensure that all the guys would experience some holiday cheer.

In the best and most magical of all worlds, I’d love to be able to transport the entire platoon here to my house and cook them Christmas dinner. I can’t begin to describe how much I’d enjoy having a house full of big, hungry guys who haven’t had home-cooked food in many months — I do so love to provide people with happiness and support in the form of food. Transport technology not being up to speed yet, I was delighted to temporarily adopt a soldier for the Christmas mailing. He’s 28, a Staff Sergeant, and the platoon artillery expert. That’s all I know.

My friend asked that we include for each soldier a $10 iTunes card, a pocket knife, a 6″ Mag flashlight, snacks, and a personal gift from us. The US Postal Service provides flat-rate boxes that you can stuff with whatever will fit and mail in the US or to soldiers for $8.95. The box measured 13.625″ x 11.875″ x 3.375. Fortunately I love to shop and to hunt for items that meet a specific purpose, and I’m also a past master at fitting a whole lot into a small space thanks to years of filling Christmas stockings. I had a wonderful time shopping for my soldier and then putting together the packing puzzle. When my box was full, it weighed 9-1/2 pounds. Here’s what was in it:

https://i1.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2181/2033659481_2b50f92613.jpg

(Actually, not all the items from all the snack boxes at the back fit, but I managed to squeeze in some of each.)

I also got a funny Christmas card, printed out some pictures of my family and our pets, and wrote the Staff Sergeant about who we are and where we live. I tried to express to him our respect and appreciation for all he’s doing. I hope he’ll write back.

Too many soldiers in Iraq and other places receive no mail and will get nothing for Christmas. If you know someone serving in harm’s way, you may be able to get the name of someone you could mail to, and thereby make a big difference in that soldier’s life. Or, you can go to sites like AnySoldier.com and TreatAnySoldier.com to find soldiers who need our support; the sites describe in detail what the soldiers want and need, and how/when/where you can send care packages and letters.

Merry Christmas, Staff Sergeant. Stay safe. I hope you and your comrades come home soon.