Osama Bin Laden has repeatedly expressed his primary intent: to bankrupt America. Sadly, his methodology has caused the United States to spend over $1 trillion on the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Originally, the Bush administration predicted Iraq would cost about $60 billion. In just seven years, the war cost has exceeded $700 billion and counting. In Afghanistan, we were told that U.S. forces would quickly oust the Taliban, rout Al-Qaeda, and capture Bin Laden. Almost nine years later, the war has cost over $270 billion, and with Obama's recent troop surges, the cost is likely to continue soaring.
Since 2001, the federal budget has never been balanced. The national debt has grown by approximately $8 trillion. Exploding war budgets, under Bush and Obama, have undoubtedly contributed to the debt buildup and Dollar devaluation over the last decade.
In response, Alan Grayson (D-Florida) has authored HR 5353, The War is Making You Poor Act. In a recent Huffington Post Op-Ed, Grayson outlines the rationale behind his new bill, which is already gaining bipartisan support. Here are some of the highlights:
The war in Afghanistan is now longer than World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. And President Obama is escalating it.
Osama Bin Laden is applying the same strategy he utilized against the Soviet Union to bleed the U.S. treasury.
The bill would force war funding to originate from the Pentagon's "base" budget, a mere $549 billion, instead of constantly tacking on "emergency" war supplementals that provide off-the-books financing.
The resultant savings would help reduce the record budget deficits and eliminate federal taxes on the first $35,000 of income.
Grayson's bill forces the hand of so-called fiscal conservatives in both parties. By definition, record military budgets and open-ended wars increase the national debt, a debt that has just surpassed a staggering $13 trillion. If war spending is not cut, U.S. debt will continue to spiral out of control.
On the other hand, if fiscal conservatives truly believe in unlimited financing for overseas wars in the name of national security, then their only other alternative is to make drastic cuts to domestic programs. However, under Bush and a Republican Congress, Bush and a Democratic Congress, and Obama and a Democratic Congress, domestic spending didn't decrease; instead, it dramatically increased, leading to a unprecedented explosion of federal debt.
If fiscal conservatives in both parties wish to retain even an ounce of credibility, they should strongly consider Grayson's The War is Making You Poor Act. As I wrote in a previous article, Europe's debt crisis could be a preview of coming attractions for America, our nation's financial day of reckoning may be rapidly approaching. Unless federal spending is cut in all areas of the budget, we could soon be facing our own punishing debt disaster.
Before it's too late, let's return to a philosophy that favors quality over quantity, and fiscal responsibility over fiscal recklessness. It's exactly what Osama Bin Laden doesn't want, and it's exactly what is needed to save our nation from an economic collapse.