“Our Resources Are Limited”

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Just two days after announcing the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, President Obama held a jobs summit:

With unemployment levels above 10 percent, Obama said “We cannot hang back and hope for the best.”

But, mindful of growing anxiety about federal deficits, Obama also tempered his upbeat talk with an acknowledgment that government resources could only go so far and that it is primarily up to the private sector to create large numbers of new jobs.

He said while he’s “open to every demonstrably good idea … we also though have to face the fact that our resources are limited.”

Beyond the question of why a Democratic president is giving lip service to deficit hawks at a moment that screams for more Keynesian stimulus, the real question is this: why is it that we have to endure nearly a year of grueling political games just to get a weak, watered down health care bill that we have been told, all along, has to be deficit-neutral, yet no one bats an eye at throwing tens of billions more each year into wars?

A couple weeks ago, CBS News reported:

While Washington has put modest funding into civilian projects in Afghanistan this year — ranging from small-scale power plants to “public latrines” to a meat market — the real construction boom is military in nature. The Pentagon has been funneling stimulus-sized sums of money to defense contractors to markedly boost its military infrastructure in that country.

In fiscal year 2009, for example, the civilian U.S. Agency for International Development awarded $20 million in contracts for work in Afghanistan, while the U.S. Army alone awarded $2.2 billion — $834 million of it for construction projects. In fact, according to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, the Pentagon has spent “roughly $2.7 billion on construction over the past three fiscal years” in that country and, “if its request is approved as part of the fiscal 2010 defense appropriations bill, it would spend another $1.3 billion on more than 100 projects at 40 sites across the country, according to a Senate report on the legislation.”

Nowhere has the building boom been more apparent than Bagram Air Base… To keep up with its exponential growth rate, more than $200 million in construction projects are planned or in-progress at this moment on just the Air Force section of the base….

In the near future, notes Pincus, “the military is planning to build a $30 million passenger terminal and adjacent cargo facility to handle the flow of troops, many of whom arrive at the base north of Kabul before moving on to other sites.” In addition, according to the Associated Press, the base command is “acquiring more land next year on the east side to expand” even further.

And that was before the escalation was announced. Have we been told what the escalation will cost in money, much less lives? And has anyone mentioned limited resources? Now, I’m all for nation-building, but how about we start at home?  

28 comments

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  1. …even in the middle of a severe recession. Shows what the real function of government is.

    Great diary.

    • Edger on December 5, 2009 at 1:56 am

    October 28, 2009 – Matt Taibbi:

    We could have paid off every single sub-prime mortgage in this country – the total amount of sub-prime mortgages outstanding at the beginning of this crisis was 1.4 trillion dollars […] we could’ve paid of every existing mortgage, sub-prime or not, for about 12 trillion dollars.

    Instead we gave, you know, roughly 18-20 trillion dollars to these banks, so that they could recover themselves or give themselves bonuses…”

    That would have been one hell of a good economic stimulus, I would think… if “government resources” weren’t  so “limited” :-/

    National People’s Action (NPA) is a Network of metropolitan, regional, and statewide organizations that build grassroots power. NPA works to build the collective political will to advance racial and economic justice. National People’s Action has over 135 organizers and support staff working in communities across the country and is a project of the National Training and Information Center.

    • Edger on December 5, 2009 at 2:00 am

    will bring the total number of US Troops there to about 100,000.

    100,000 X $1,000,000 per soldier = $100 Billion. Per year.

    http://rawstory.com/2009/10/us-spends-1-million-per-soldier-in-afghanistan-government-report-says/

    • robodd on December 5, 2009 at 2:39 am

    In light of TARP and the war escalation?  WTF?  

    Man, that statement is an effrontery, worthy only of a true hack politician.  Talk about totally losing faith.

  2. … real and explicit way. We are importing a boatload of the energy we consume, and as long as we do that, we cannot just take for granted the ability to mobilize unemployed domestic resources and put them to work doing good things.

    In light of our MASSIVE unemployed and underemployed domestic resources, that means that there is ONE type of government spending with no effective limit other than the amount of effective projects we can develop — which is effective investment in ability to produce our own energy in a long term sustainable way.

    • Inky99 on December 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    everything else can just go fuck itself.

    Heaven forbid a banker should lose his job AND his “bonuses”.

    “Sorry, you can’t have a job because the bankers were complaining they couldn’t live on less than $500,000 a year”.

    This is a fucking FACT.

    • Inky99 on December 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    hate Obama.

    I mean, I’m starting to hate him more than Bush.  At least Bush was a transparent jackass.

    Obama is a smug charlatan.

    • TMC on December 6, 2009 at 12:10 am

    is now opposed to using TARP to fund jobs. I guess he wants to hold onto it to bail out his buddies for round two of the recession that hasn’t ended. There is still more on the horizon with housing and credit card debt. Whatever happened to all those toxic assets that the banks and financial institutions still own?

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