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When spending is prosperous

10 September 2010

President Obama recently announced his intent to divert another 50 billion dollars in stimulus funds to repairing the nations failing infrastructure. Seemingly before the media scrum could regurgitate that fact to their audience, the GOP was up in arms with proclamations of an inevitable “Nay.”

It seemed very odd to me. I mean, I understand the logic behind the argument: spending at a time of record deficit is a bad economic policy. In most cases, I would agree. I can’t agree in this case though.

Just prior to labor day weekend, the latest job report indicated a national unemployment rate hovering just around 9%. While jobs connected to infrastructure would be purely temporary they would immediately put hundreds of thousands of people to work. We have a choice: Do we create jobs tomorrow or don’t we?

I’m regularly astounded by the right and their demands to decrease spending. It isn’t the demands themselves that have me befuddled but rather the way in which they suggest we do it. Ending unemployment benefits (which accounts for less than 0.02% of our deficit), reducing social services like food stamps (which accounts for even less of the deficit), cut backs in education and public services; These are just a few of the suggestions made in recent months.

It’s interesting that no one has proposed ending the futile war on terror. An effort that, so far in 2010 alone, has cost over 1 trillion dollars. Take a look at this congressional research – it shows the cost of the Iraq war to be over 750 billion dollars this year. The afghan war is costing over 300 billion this fiscal year. Add to that another 30 billion for enhanced security.

Is it just me or does it seem as though republicans regularly go out of their way to ensure no progress is ever made here at home? The 50 billion dollar infrastructure plan that the right intends to vote ‘nay’ on would put people to work who desperately need it while improving our highways, roads, rails, public transit, and other failing infrastructure. Meanwhile, every war effort put on the table gets a ‘yay’ from the right side of the isle. War efforts that have no discernible effect on American lives. War efforts that can never be won – Terror is an idea, not an enemy.

With elections right around the corner; What would you rather have? Prosperity? Or war?

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