Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Minor Bone To Pick

Rep. Whiplash says that Iraq is ruining the economy. Psychologically, maybe, but what do the numbers say?

The US Gross Domestic Product in 2007 was 13,843,825,000,000 (not a typo-that really is almost fourteen trillion dollars), ranking first in the world. By the same token, the only economy that can compare to the US is the combined European Union, when all 27 members are added together. Japan's GDP is $4.3 trillion; Germany third at $3.3 trillion; China fourth at $3.2; and Britain fifth at $2.7. That's right: Our economy is bigger than the next four on the list (they check in at $13.5 combined).

(Supposedly poor Mexico, due to its trade partnership with the US and Canada-ninth largest-checks in at 15th. They are directly behind Australia and South Korea, and ahead of the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Taiwan, Oil-Rich Saudi Arabia, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Ireland, and Israel.)

The federal budget is $3.1 trillion dollars. Our defense budget is roughly 3.7% of our GDP. As Wiki notes, this is more than France (2.6) but much less than Saudi Arabia (10). Overall, defense spending has gone up .7 (that's seven-tenths of one percent) as a percentage of GDP, from a post-WWII low of 3% in 1999-01 (who was president then? I forget). Iraq cost $170 billion last year; as a comparison, $237 billion was spent on public debt. I'm sure the $48 billion in earmarks requested by your co-workers last year could also be used more constructively than, say, a Woodstock Museum.

And of course, I know the trillions of dollars in spending that your party's presidential candidate proposed today you stridently oppose.

It seems to me the bigger issue would be balancing the federal budget, and reigning in public spending if we really wanted to free up cash "to invest in sources of alternative energy, job growth, and economic development," as opposed to something that's a miniscule part of the total spending of our federal government.

But you knew all this, right? I'm sure you've got all the answers ready. After all, it can't be you simply playing up to the isolationist streak in rural North Mississippi, right?

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