An obvious way to cut the deficit

July 22, 2011 | By | Reply More

Alan Grayson included me in his recent mass-emailing on the topic of the budget deficit. Guess how he would cut the deficit?

Last year, we spent $154 billion in appropriated funds on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is in addition to the $549 billion in appropriated funds for the Pentagon – you know, just to keep the lights on. And the non-appropriated cost of war was even higher – especially when you include the cost of care for the 15% of all the American troops in Iraq who come home with permanent brain abnormalities. According to Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, the war in Iraq alone is costing us $4 trillion and counting. That’s more than $13,000 for every one of us, and roughly 8% of our entire net worth as a nation.

The cost of war is enormous. So enormous that, as I pointed out in H.R. 5353, The War is Making You Poor Act, if we simply funded that cost through the Pentagon’s own budget, rather than through supplemental appropriations, we could eliminate taxes on everyone’s first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for married couples), and still reduce the deficit by more than $10 billion a year.

And that was last year. Since then, the number of wars has gone up by 50%.

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Category: Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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