The BFD about your tax dollars
I don’t know if this has already been covered, but you need to read Matt Bivens on where the $87 billion is going in Iraq:
Bush has also asked for $100 million for 2,000 trash trucks — which works out as $50,000 per truck. He wants to spend $400 million on building new jails able to hold 8,000 additional prisoners — which works out to $50,000 per bed. “I have a lot of constituents in my state of South Dakota who live in homes that don’t cost $50,000 per bedroom,” Senator Johnson says. Or how about the $30 million we’ve reportedly set aside to teach Iraqis English as a second language. “Undoubtedly there will be a contract to be ‘bid’ out, surely to that great educational institution, Halliburton, to provide ESL teachers from the US at wartime salaries,” writes Tom Englehardt, editor of the indispensable TomDispatch.com.
The Bush Administration request also includes $164 million “to improve the curriculum for training Iraq’s new army,” Associated Press reports. Not “to improve the new Army,” simply to improve “the curriculum” for it. It includes $4 million to establish telephone area codes and a 911-emergency response number. It includes $100 million to hide the families of 100 Iraqis in the witness protection program, $19 million for post office Wi-Fi, $50 million for traffic cops. It includes $150 million “to begin work on a $500 million to $700 million children’s hospital with all the latest technology.” (Because there’s no shortage of $700 million children’s hospitals in America, right?)
Then there is this from Salon:
Democrats increasingly have denounced Bush’s handling of the Iraqi war and its aftermath, yet many see little choice but to support his request. About $66 billion is for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and has generated little debate.
“We have no objection to this request and we would be willing to approve this funding this very day,” said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
But Democrats have criticized spending billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq at a time of rising deficits and unmet needs at home. They have targeted specific items in Bush’s request, such as $20 million to train Iraqi entrepreneurs in “business fundamentals and concepts” with a four-week course costing $10,000 per pupil, and $82 million to start an Iraqi Coast Guard.
“We should bring the same vigilance to control unnecessary spending that we bring to spending here at home. That is at the root of the questions we will ask,” Daschle said.
I think these should give you some pretty good talking points for a letter to your local newspaper.
(thanks to the indispensable Chris for the Bivens link)