What Does Afghanistan Have to Do with Health Reform?

Posted: August 14, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Take a look at President Obama’s approval disapproval ratings on various issues in this June 2009 Gallup poll:

Gallup poll on President Obama

Note that the two questions on federal budget–the handling of the deficit and controlling government spending–are the only two areas on which the President received negative ratings. The poll may ask people what they think about Obama, but it’s actually about the mood of the American people. Anxiety about deficits are rising. Politically, that means that the President’s opponents have a line of attack with traction: “out-of-control government spending.” The politics around this issue mean the President will be somewhat constrained in his policies by anxieties about spending, and that means any spending commitment could crowd out other priorities.

Politics aside though, the simple fact is that we could be insuring millions of Americans with the same dollars we’re spending on war in Afghanistan.

So, what are the health care opportunity costs of continued military action in Afghanistan? Here’s a quick video overview, using clips from Rethink Afghanistan, Part Three: Cost of War:

  1. sporkmaster says:

    That is opening things up to whole another issues. But the thing that I feel is that there are people that are against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq because they want the funds for their own projects. Not based of off if things are going well there or not.

    It’s people demanding bread and circuses while Rome burns.

  2. dcrowe says:

    I don’t think it’s as un-serious as demanding bread and circuses. War spending has opportunity costs. It’s interesting that you brought up Rome. In one of the books that really made an impact re: the Iraq war, Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes quote the Comptroller General at the time, David Walker:

    “…in 2006, America borrowed $850 billion. The richest country in the world could not live within its means–partly because it was fighting one of history’s most expensive wars. The seriousness of this situation has attracted attention from David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States. He has warned that there are ‘striking similarities’ between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including ‘an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.'” (p 122-123)

    Afghanistan is going to surpass the expense of the Iraq War, and it’s also financed on debt just as much as the Iraq endeavor is. Deficit-fueled military spending is caustic to economic growth. Economic decline guts your tax base–and eventually the borrowing runs out. Bye bye empire. The post above uses health reform just as one example. Eventually we’ll wreck ourselves on the rocks–which is exactly what Bin Laden said he hoped to do: provoke us into a massively costly invasion.

    Ever seen the excellent Anthony Hopkins/Alec Baldwin movie “The Edge”? Remember how they kill the bear?

  3. sporkmaster says:

    Fair enough, that is a concern that should not be ignored. But one thing that I remember talking about the military and why we have contractors now. I was talking to our First Sergeant and what he was saying that that the military restructuring and reduction took away a lot of the Military’s support units. So when OIF and OEF cam up we where lacking. So the money that we thought we where saving is now being spent threefold on the fact we do not have the time to restart everything up again.

    So I am concerned that if we leave now that in the near future we will be right back. I mean the kids that watched the Gulf War are the ones that are taking part in Iraq now. So that is one of the the main problems that I hope that your group can talk about; what to replace the vacuum that will be caused by the military leaving.

    As far as the movie I remember watching it but I do not remember what happens to the bear.

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