Posts Tagged ‘National debt’

Maybe Israel Should be Giving the United States Foreign Aid

August 28, 2013

Opher Aviran, Counsul General of Israel to the Southeast United States, with Dr. Tim Mescon, President of Columbus State University, who introduced him  to the Rotarfy  Club of  Columbus.

Opher Aviran, Counsul General of Israel to the Southeast United States, with Dr. Tim Mescon, President of Columbus State University, who introduced him to the Rotary Club of Columbus.

Opher Aviran, Consul General of Israel to the Southeast Eastern United States,  spoke to Columbus Rotarians about the close ties between the United States and Israel.  He spoke of the mutual economic benefits of American-Israeli trade connections,  using, as example,  how Israel’s high-tech development community contributes  to American businesses that  have facilities in Israel. I have read Israel does have some really talented digital whizzes.

Perhaps the  relationship’s working the best for Israel.  Their national economy is in much better shape.  Their national debt as a percent  of their  Gross National Product is less than 75 percent.  Our national debt’s percentage of our GNP is 106 percent.

We give Israel about $3 billion a year in foreign aid, which is the most we gave  any country between 1976 and 2004.  Maybe it should be the other way around.   To  be fair, a lot of that $3 billion goes to American arms manufacturers.  You could say it’s just another way of subsidizing the military-industrial complex.

Maybe our government should just stop sending money gifts to any  Mideastern ountry.  What  are we getting for it?  The country that we buy the most oil from, Saudi Arabia, doesn’t need handouts from the U.S.

Then there is the  military factor to consider.  What have we gained by spending almost $900 billion on the war in Iraq?  Actually, according to  a paper by Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will total somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion when you factor in longterm  medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replacements, and social and economic costs.  Our government says the Iraq war is over. If that’s the case why are we still pouring money into it?  We’ve budgeted $5.2 billion for it this year. 

Cruise missle

Cruise missle

What are we going to gain by sending $1.4 million Cruise missiles into Syria?  I guess it will give a boost to Raytheon, who now  manufactures those missiles.  We’ll have to buy some more to replace the ones we use. Will we raise taxes to pay for them? Of course not. We’ll just have to borrow some more from China.  Well, we could just transfer the funds from Medicare and Social Security.  It would be interesting to see the political fallout from that since the millions who have paid money into those insurance programs would be affected.

And those Cruise missiles may just be the beginning of the cost of getting mixed up in that civil war.  We don’t know what the consequences of attacking Syrian targets may be.  You just never know until you do it.

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What the National Debt and Deficit are Costing You

February 8, 2010

 Back when I was working in TV news, being cognizant of the importance that local newscasts should provide local news,  when we decided to use a national story, we would always try to “localize” it.  With that in mind, when I decided that I was beginning to feel so concerned about the national budget mess we are in right now that I wanted to do a blog post on it, I tried to figure out how to “localize” it. 

When we say the national debt is now more than $12 trillion,  that’s the big picture.  Maybe to bring it home to each of us, our share is more than $40 thousand each, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock.

 A large share of that debt is generated by defense spending.  That hits home. The Columbus area economy relies heavily on Fort Benning which pumps millions into the stores,  real estate businesses,  and just about everything else.  The annual payroll at Fort Benning is $1.1 billion.  The monthly payroll is $87 million.  Sure, we have to pay our part of the taxes that go into the Defense Department treasury, but we probably get a lot more back than we pay.  The point is that the defense budget directly impacts on us big time. 

Nationally, the proposed defense budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is $708.2 billion.  The base budget, which does not include overseas “contingency operations,” which I suppose means Afghanistan and Iraq, is $548.9 billion, which is $18 billion more than the 2010 budget.

 According to the National Priorities Project Cost of War  Counters, so far, since 2001,  the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars  have cost America a little more than a trillion dollars.  Bringing  that to the local level, folks in Georgia have paid more than $27.6 billion.  The counters don’t list Columbus, so I’ll have to go to a city of about the same size, Augusta, where the cost of the wars has been more than $512 million

Can we afford that?  That opens up a huge can of worms, but just on the fiscal basis,  let’s just ask, can we pay for itNot with our own money.  Incredibly, we lowered taxes when we went to war 8 years ago.  You spend more than you take in, you have to borrow, which leads us to our next post on the fiscal crisis we face. Stay tuned