Our Sad State of Affairs: Offensive Republicanism, 20 Billion for air conditioning in Afganistan

This from Kevin Drum:

But then, for about the thousandth time, my mind wanders over the past ten years. Republicans got the tax cuts they wanted. They got the financial deregulation they wanted. They got the wars they wanted. They got the unfunded spending increases they wanted. And the results were completely, unrelentingly disastrous. A decade of sluggish growth and near-zero wage increases. A massive housing bubble. Trillions of dollars in war spending and thousands of American lives lost. A financial collapse. A soaring long-term deficit. Sky-high unemployment. All on their watch and all due to policies they eagerly supported. And worse: ever since the predictable results of their recklessness came crashing down, they’ve rabidly and nearly unanimously opposed every single attempt to dig ourselves out of the hole they created for us.

Medicynical Note: We’ve lost our mojo and have an almost totally dysfuntional political system.

As an aside, I listened to one of the best of Today BBC podcasts yesterday. They interviewed Retired Brigadier General Steven Anderson, formerly General Petraeus’ logistician. He revealed that the U.S. spends 20 billion, yes billion dollars on air conditioning in Afganistan. The money, in part, is used to buy fuel which costs the military $45/gallon delivered. The air conditioning is among other things used to cool tents. The commentator noted that this is 1/3 of the total British military government.


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5 responses to “Our Sad State of Affairs: Offensive Republicanism, 20 Billion for air conditioning in Afganistan

  1. See “Among The Costs Of War: Billions A Year In A.C.?” (http://www.npr.org/2011/06/25/137414737/among-the-costs-of-war-20b-in-air-conditioning)

    “CLARIFICATION: The Pentagon disputes the calculation made by Anderson about air conditioning costs. Defense Department spokesman Dave Lapan says that in fiscal year 2010, the Pentagon spent approximately $15 billion on energy for all military operations around the world. The Pentagon says when it comes to Afghanistan, it spent $1.5 billion from October 2010 to May 2011 on fuel. That fuel was used for heating and air conditioning systems, but also for aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, combat vehicles, computers and electricity inside military structures.”

    • It’s great that the number isn’t 20 billion. Whatever it is, ($45/ gallon for gas, billions to air condition tents, etc) wouldn’t it have been better to pay as we spent rather than putting it on our grand-chilren’s charge card.

      Imagine cutting taxes while increasing spending and going to war. Bush economics–in every way.

  2. Some people believe facts matter, others don’t. Arguments based on erroneous data have no merit.

    Bush’s policies were highly irresponsible. However, Bush’s biggest deficit was 3.5% of GDP in 2004. Obama’s average deficit has been 9.9% of GDP so far. See White House – Historical Tables (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals) for the raw data.

    I ask again. Do facts matter?

    • Yes and Bush left Obama with the largest financial mess in history. Bigger in dollars than the depression.
      Bush inherited a budget surplus and left Obama a moribund economy.

      These are not good times and neither party has covered itself with glory.

  3. “Bush left Obama with the largest financial mess in history.”

    Follow the White House links I provided. They don’t support your argument. I think anyone (other than you?) would agree that FDR inherited a vastly larger mess than Obama. However, the economy took off within days (literally) of FDR taking the oath of office. See http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/INDPRO/ for some monthly statistics going back to 1919.

    By contrast, the economy continued sliding after Obama took office and has continued to languish (badly).

    Note that the peak 30s budget deficit was in 1934. !934 was divided between Republican and Democratic rule. Thereafter (under FDR) the budget deficit went down (in an irregular manner) until WWII. Note that the peak FDR budget deficit was 5.5% of GDP. Obama has never been lower than 8.9%.

    Judging from FDR’s successes (fast economic growth, lower deficits) and Obama’s failures, the “blame it on Bush” theory doesn’t hold.

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