As the debate regarding the American debt ceiling rages, many legislators would have you believe that the problem has been caused by too many government programs in place to help too many people. In reality, funding for Social Security and Medicare have their own systems, so that would leave Medicaid by itself as an entitlement needing reform. Social Security is stable until 2034, so we do have some time to come up with creative solutions that will be fair to all. Much of Medicare could be dealt with if there were caps on charges and prices hospitals put out there. Either way, the deficit was not created by these programs, and it wasn’t related to NPR, to Food aid, to heating assistance, to any program that meets the needs of our impoverished Americans.
Recent history tells us that the deficit became an issue in 2003 when then President George Bush committed about $900 billion dollars to a war for some reason that has never been made quite clear. This is consistent with overcharging done by civilian contractors during the war. Finally, there was a certain ineptitude of keeping American dollars safe during that time.
Lost and Reported Stolen – $6.6 billion of U.S. taxpayers’ money earmarked for Iraq reconstruction, reported on June 14, 2011 by Special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction Stuart Bowen who called it “the largest theft of funds in national history.” (Source – CBS News) Last known holder of the $6.6 billion lost: the U.S. government.
Notwithstanding the paid out charges of war, or the losses of unimaginable money, there was also a great deal of mismanagement and theft resulting in even more money:
Missing – $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. (Per CBS News on Dec 6, 2007.)
Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq – $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings
Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported – $1.4 billion
Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items – $20 billion
U.S. Annual Air-Conditioning Cost in Iraq and Afghanistan – $20.2 billion (Source – NPR, June 25, 2011)
U.S. 2009 Monthly Spending in Iraq – $7.3 billion as of Oct 2009
U.S. 2008 Monthly Spending in Iraq – $12 billion
This does not include the injury to our soldiers and their families. Everything from multiple deployments to losing their businesses and homes has been a challenge that they have stayed strong through, and they have earned every penny they have gotten and then some. I am talking about waste. There are many more figures available, and this is simply about Iraq, the war that had no real ending to it. $37 billion dollars. That would go a long way to solving the deficit without cutting into programs that people NEED! I could do the same thing with the funding for the war in Afghanistan, but I do understand we went there to take down Al Qaeda. Our ability to do so has been a touch difficult, but the reasoning solid.
Why talk about entitlements when talking about deficits? Who has the lobbying ability to stand firm in the face of the debate? The ill, the disabled, the people who wonder where the next meal comes from? Their lobbying group is a large number of bloggers. Who will go to Congress and tell them “Hands off my Social Security!”? The AARP started to and got a Republican congressional inquiry into their tax status as their reward. Who will speak for the people who need long-term nursing care? Who will stand up for the people who need basic medical care for their children?
This is what the legislators are counting on. That you will be too busy insuring your family has a positive future that you will let them bicker about “reforms”. Those “reforms” are going to take away from someone though. I vote Halliburton gives back what it got paid. They overcharged the country and penalties should be assessed. I vote that every one of the Cabinet that walked us into the war help defray expenses as this is their mess. (I know that won’t happen, it just seemed appropriate to say.) The reforms that will take money from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid not to mention many other very helpful programs will hurt too many innocent people. It’s time for legislatures to be creative and take money out of the real deficit creators.