Wednesday, June 01, 2011

REALITY CHECK: The Obama "Trillion Dollar Bill"

There's a nasty little message making the circuit that purports to explain how much a trillion dollars is, appending this image at the end:

The senders clearly only interested in ad hominems, and not facts.  But, dear reader, I trust you are cut from straighter timber. Here is what I wrote back to the person who passed that message to me:


I'm sorry you felt the need to take the cheap shot at Obama. Given the following information,  you might want to consider changing the image from our current president to a previous president.

1. Trillions lost on waging war

According to the Center for Defense Information, the estimated cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach $1.29 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2011.
However, this doesn't take into account the real cost:
+ Loss of life and work potential for the private sector
+ Cost of seriously injured to society
+ Mental health costs and consequences
+ Quality of life impairment (I weep for the multiple amputees)
+ Family costs
+ Social costs
+ Homefront National Guard shortfalls needed for Katrina etc.

2001 Nobel winner in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz estimates the true cost of the Iraq war at $3 trillion.
Obama rightly deserves criticism for continuing the war in Afghanistan, but he wasn't the one who invaded Iraq. Stiglitz writes, "It is hard to believe that we would be embroiled in a bloody conflict in Afghanistan today if we had devoted the resources there that we instead deployed in Iraq. A troop surge in 2003 -- before the warlords and the Taliban reestablished control -- would have been much more effective than a surge in 2010. "

2) Trillions lost due to Recession

a) Small Business
Study shows recession cost small businesses $2 trillion. Recall that Obama inherited the recession upon taking office. Economists say Dec. 2007 marked the start of the recession. Obama didn't take office until January 2009.

b) Children
Recession-induced child poverty to cost U.S. $1.7 trillion in economic loss. Would this have occurred if presidents and legislators before Obama had not deregulated Wall Street, and allowed it to run amok and ruin he economy? In March, 2008, CNN reported: "You know things are very very bad on Wall Street when a guy like Henry Paulson -- Treasury secretary, solid Republican, and former Goldman Sachs CEO -- joins the crowd calling for more regulation over the financial markets."

c) worldwide
Here's a visual that estimates the worldwide cost of the financial crisis to be $11,900 billion--nearly $12 trillion (Click on it to enlarge the image. )

I'm sorry the sender felt the need to take the cheap shot at Obama. Given the information above, he might want to consider changing the image on the trillion dollar bill from our current president to a previous president.

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