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obamas freeloading aunt
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13834

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

keycocker wrote:
I don't trust the news much.


I quit trusting the media in 1988 when the L.A. Times played the same game you guys excel at. They took my carefully written news report, twisted the holy hell out of it, and attributed blatant lies to me by name, on the front page IIRC. That level of reporting has obviously gotten much worse since then.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13834

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MULLDE102f wrote:
And the several hundred thousand dollars per minute that the pointless adventure in Iraq has cost us all these years we needn't discuss because, you know, people scamming on welfare are what really gouges the taxpayers.


Based on the government's own CBO and U.S. Statistical Abstract (whom Keycocker, a SCHOOLTEACHER, says he equates to TR and/or "the media") figures, presented and discussed at
http://tinyurl.com/2w33q3y ,

* Obama's stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War -- more than $100 billion (15%) more.
* Just the first two years of Obama's stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.
* Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2% of all federal spending while it lasted.
* Iraq War spending was not even one quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame.
* Iraq War spending was not even 15% of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.
* The Iraq War accounts for less than 8% of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).
* During Bush's Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1922

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen the same numbers. Probably from the same webpage. I am not disputing them.

However, the question that I always have, with any numbers, is how the accounting and tabulation was done?

Are these just the hard numbers for the cost of the war? (ie bombs, helicopters, troop direct costs etc.). Or, are some of the soft, but still hard to swallow, costs of the war; such as long term medical costs to treat crippled soldiers, medical costs of families dealing with losses to, and of, family members, additional educational costs incurred by school systems dealing with students missing a parent (Behavioral problems with kids costs money - my brother's entire salary BTW) in this accounting???

I know the answer to this question is hard (if not impossible to answer).

Isn't this the case with a lot of government programs and funding. A lot of costs, AND BENEFITS, are extremely difficult to evaluate and itemize. Yet, we base opinions, funding, and resourcing on these hard numbers.

Even though the "hard costs" of the war do not seem all that high, when represented as a fraction of total costs, we are still talking some big numbers. I was impressed that it cost 1/4 the cost of Medicare. Yikes, thats a lot of money.

Was it B. Goldwater who said "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon it adds up to some real money"?
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4987

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iso lies again. I've posted the actual numbers from the Federal Budget. The war cost to date is over $700 billion. Estimates of long term costs are up to $2 trillion, but those come from suspect sources with a political agenda. There are substantial long term costs--peak medical costs of the military are aboiut 40 to 50 years after the war. But fair economic accounting would discount those with a present worth analysis. Iso's source just makes these numbers up.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1922

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac:

Thanks, I am looking for your past posting re: war costs.

This is a constant discussion in my family. My wife treats family members of injured and killed. A broken family because of the PTSD. My brother counsels school children of soldiers. Even I have made long trips to console parents when my sister's guard unit has been notified they may go.

These are all costs of war. We see the advertised numbers of the costs and wonder where our costs are in that accounting. NONE of these costs have been paid for by the Federal Government.

I am not arguing the merits of the war or my family's responsibility in that effort. I am just asking. Is this included?

What were your findings?
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4987

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coboardhead--I couldn't quickly find my original post, but kept much of it as a word document. From February this year. I like to actually check the facts after someone like Iso makes an outrageous claim. The citations are all clear, and credible, and I urge people interested in politics to poke around on the budget page of the nation, their state, and their city. It proves to be interesting. Mac
Isobars complains so much about food stamps that I decided to peruse the last Bush budget to see what we are spending money on and how they are trending. Engineers who do their homework always look at trends. You can readily do your own research at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy09/browse.html

Starting with the big picture, the Federal government paid out $3.107 trillion and took in $2.7 trillion (remember those tax cuts that let you buy more hamburgers?). But relatively little of the outgo is discretionary—a little under $1 trillion is discussed as discretionary. Where does that go? Mostly to security and the military--$594.5 billion for security, another $70 billion for the wars, $44.8 billion for Veterans, and $38 billion for Homeland Security. That’s about $750 billion, or more than 75% of the discretionary funding. I don’t know if the war number is low-balled, that’s just the number reported on the GPO web site. Of interest in terms of the long term implications of the Bush era, the Veterans budget has doubled since 2001, and we can expect 30 years of payouts for injured vets. If you look at economic growth during the Bush administration and where it went, you can readily see that for the latter part of his presidency, security absorbed virtually all revenue increases, going from $594 billion to $730 billion between 2007 and 2009.

Well, what about the rest of the money? Entitlement programs—social security, medicare, and Medicaid total $1.27 trillion. Interest on the debt for FY 2009 was $280 billion, but is rising at about 12%/year. Medicaid is also going up more rapidly than is sustainable, something that should not be a surprise to anyone except those that think it is not a government program and that they already paid for it. (tea anyone?)

How about non-security? If you’re really interested visit the site and poke around; information drives democracy. But I’ll give you a few of the bigger programs in discretionary funding. After Defense at $515 billion comes Health and Human Services at $70 billion, Education at $59 billion, and food stamps at about $56 billion. If we drill a little deeper on that last number, and use http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/faqs.htm#25, we can see that for 2008 25.7 million people were eligible, at a cost of $28.6 billion (a little over $1000/person/year—could you eat with that?) and it went up substantially with the economic downturn. It requires about 1.8% of the Federal budget to keep people from starving. I’m comfortable with that, and I’d be willing to pay Isobars 1.8% as well to shut him up. (My father used to say that there are people who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. He was also conservative and lived in the Tri-cities, but he was not a mean man.)

So how does that compare to some other programs that we like? Well, we spend $2.4 billion for the National Park system—and remember that states like Arizona and California are so broke they are closing their parks. That’s 0.08%--can I double it and get a little management of my parks? Or do the teabaggers want to close Yosemite too? Unemployment represents $2.6 billion—and are Republicans in favor of extending those benefits during a prolonged recession? Oh, at 0.1% that would be way too expensive and would push us over our debt ceiling.

Is there a more rational way to do some of this? One of the best ideas I’ve heard, and fiscally conservative, is to look at our military budget as a cost of securing our access to oil. Of course the global warming deniers think that our life style is a god-given right—they find that somewhere in the bible. So if our consumption of gasoline is 378 million gallons/day in 2009 (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=oil_home), or 140,000,000,000 gallons per year, and we paid for half of our military budget with that would be about $1.78/gallon. But alternative fuel supplies are a bad idea, aren’t they?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5694

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks mac for the informative post. To your credit, I'm always amazed at the amount of work and research that you do, to include the presentation effort here. Without a doubt, quite noteworthy in my book.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4987

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chandler--I was a historian before I was an engineer, and trained to use primary sources with credibility. I don't think Iso ever actually checks his sources, much less thinks about their biases.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1922

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac - Thank you very much.

A couple years back, I did a fair amount of research on the numbers regarding health care costs.

The difficulty I found, since this was not a completely government program, was that it was really hard to get good numbers for comparison.

For example, one source would include toothbrushes and fingernail clippers as health care costs; the other source would be only the "hard" health care costs. It gets difficult to run comparisons on cost increases and trends when the numbers get munipulated. The actual data, in my experience was harder to find.

I am concerned that this is the same with the war numbers. If I am evaluating the performance of someone (ie the president), it would be great to know exactly what he got left with!

Also, as an engineer, this gets frustrating. At least for me, gravity stays the same, and we pretty much agree on it. Although, I have been asked on occasion to minimize it's effect.

The real danger with the presentation of some of the numbers and the "myths" right now, is that a lot of voters really do respond to the sound bites. "Obama spent $$$ of your childrens money yada yada".

I had a meeting the other day and the client, a little old lady, pulled out a W9 form and asked me to sign it. Her comment was "that Obama wants this". When I explained that this was sometime off (and probably would not apply to the transaction anyway), she was actually angry that she had been misled by her sources.

The other day, when Isobars started on that one, it wound me up a bit!

This is politics as usual, I guess; but it does seem like it is getting worse.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4987

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coboardhead--some of the most interesting ideas I've heard about health care came from people in the field, including one of my training buddies who is an orthopod for Kaiser. Another was a young man who sells medical supplies--my brother does that, is quite well off, and thinks the system is fine.

Anyway, a few of the leading edge/cutting edge cost centers are significant injuries, chronic conditions, and end-of-life care. Those areas are increasing in cost much more rapidly than the cost of living, wage increases, and overall economic growth. Kaiser has a pretty good model for chronic conditions, where they manage them early to avoid the larger medical costs. Several other programs do as well or better, but the incentives to avoid letting disease/chronic conditions advance seem to dwell primarily in some version of HMO. Incentivizing this was, I believe, one of the features of the health care reform.

I'm alive because of the medical advances in dealing with significant injuries, so I'm a loss leader for Kaiser. But those are really random events--unless you're in the drug trade--so they can't be managed.

End of life is a difficult set of questions, but the demogoguery of the Sarah Palin's makes me furious. The American culture favors the underdog, so everyone wants to fight death to a standstill. Sometimes it is not possible, and the quality of life losses in the fight aren't really well known or explained to those who contract cancer.

Keep thinking, keep researching, keep and open mind, and keep posting here.

We can all also vow to support our troops, bring them home as soon as we can, and support their health needs when they are home. Of course you wouldn't find that support in the Bush budgets--or much acknowledgement that it is a long and expensive commitment.
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