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Saturday coffee.

September 1, 2012

Can we consider two stupid wars an entitlement?

Here’s why I ask.

The Illinois Policy Institute is a corporate think tank and lobbying outfit that has led the charge against public employee pensions in the state.

Today they link to a Wall Street Journal article that makes the claim that entitlements cost too much and are ruining the American character, whatever that means.

As Americans opt to reward themselves ever more lavishly with entitlement benefits, the question of how to pay for these government transfers inescapably comes to the fore. Citizens have become ever more broad-minded about the propriety of tapping new sources of finance for supporting their appetite for more entitlements. The taker mentality has thus ineluctably gravitated toward taking from a pool of citizens who can offer no resistance to such schemes: the unborn descendants of today’s entitlement-seeking population.

The taker mentality.

When the WSJ talks about the taker mentality they’re not talking about Wall Street or the bank bailouts.

The WSJ is talking about Medicare, Social Security and unemployment insurance.

Help for the neediest is an entitlement. It undermines the American character. And it costs over $2 trillion last year.

Here’s what the WSJ doesn’t mention. Nor did any Republican last week. Nor is it rarely mentioned by a Democrat.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us twice that amount. $4 trillion and counting.

It accounts for 26% of the current national debt.

As far as I’m concerned those who supported these wars or voted to fund them are not allowed to complain about the national debt. Democrat or Republican.

So I’m asking again. Are stupid wars an entitlement?

Or are entitlements only the things we spend money on that help people? Payments to seniors and pensioners that were promised to them?

Wars or social programs? Which determines the nature of the American character more?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob Brill permalink
    September 1, 2012 11:15 am

    Thanks for posting this. Our overseas involvement and its human and economic cost is truly “the elephant in the room” (this is not a bash against Republicans. Obama campaigned on backing out of Iraq but ratcheting up Afghanistan). Two of the few industries our country excels in anymore are airplanes and weapons. Eisenhower’s farewell address warning of the military and industrial complex was spot on. Our economic climate make an all volunteer military feasible. I just talked to a young man who had been in the Marines in Iraq who was re-upping because he couldn’t find a job. Think of what our unemployment would be like if all the 700 military bases were closed and all the troops came home.

  2. Sig Lisowski permalink
    September 1, 2012 11:51 am

    Most of our military bases outside of the US should close and personnel brought home. One can argue that they exist as a financial subsidy to the country they are in—after all they are such for the communities they exist in in the US. As far as unemployment goes. They don’t have to leave the service, there are borders that can be secured, infrastructure they can rebuild (I mean why do we have the Army Corps of Engineers?), even take over the pvt. prison system we have grown to depend on. If you ask me we are wasting our service personal outside of this country maintaining an empire we say we don’t want. Look at Rome and how that all worked out. On top of all that the money that the army and service personal spend overseas can be spent here and boost our economy.

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