Grayson: Replace Sequester with Ending Afghanistan War
Congressman Alan Grayson says we could stave off the sequester cuts by simply ending our useless war in Afghanistan.
HuffPo (“Alan Grayson, Florida Congressman: Replace Sequester Cuts With Ending Afghanistan War (VIDEO)“):
Democratic Florida Congressman Alan Grayson told HuffPost Live on Friday that he believes the automatic spending cuts triggered by sequestration should be replaced with a bill to immediately end the war in Afghanistan.
“Listen, we’re facing a nine percent cut in the food stamps program, a nine percent cut in home heating oil programs, nine percent cut in civil aeronautics, nine percent cuts in all sort of things that people actually use in their everyday lives — and we’d save the same amount of money if we simply ended the war in Afghanistan now,” Grayson told HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski.
“What’s the point?” Grayson continued. “Can’t we at least make intelligent choices and get our priorities straight?”
Grayson said his amendment, which was blocked by Republicans before it could go to a vote, would call for ending the war in 30 days, unless President Barack Obama felt this would put American servicemen and women’s lives at risk.
As a practical matter, we couldn’t achieve this savings any time soon even if Grayson’s bill passed. Even if we were willing to break our commitments to our allies in this manner, the logistics of extracting our forces are such that we’d need more than a year if we started today—unless we’re willing to simply leave tens of billions of dollars of hardware behind.
His rhetorical point, however, is well taken: we’re wasting massive sums fighting for goals that we’ve long known were unachievable while cutting popular programs at home. It makes no sense.
Not to mention that we are creating more enemies than we kill.
Dateline February 13, 2013:
Given that, I don’t see why we can’t give Grayson’s proposal two unqualified thumbs up.
On “leave it, burn it, or ship it,” it is simple cost accounting.
(Note that “clean up costs” will be there a year from now as well.)
And then of course there is this:
Afghan security forces attack US base in Kapisa
Perhaps what Grayson was thinking it that we’d use our secret teleportation devices. You hit the “return them home” button and every trooper along with their equipment just materializes back home. And if the Brits, our other NATO allies, our other allies, hell, the Afghans themselves, object to us abruptly leaving them in the lurch we’d launch drone strikes to shut them up, right quick.
Man alive, Grayson is loopy. And, yes, leftism is a mental disorder, not a legitimate political ideology.
In any case, onto the larger point, the federal government spent around 3.6 trillion dollars last fiscal year. That included tens upon tens of billions of dollars for such “crucial” programs as IRS audits, property seizures, drug and gun prosecutions, OSHA inspections, EEO audits, DOL audits, wildlife studies, NPR, diversity training, mortgage loan modifications, not even to mention paying multiple layers of zombie-fied bureaucrats, office drones and clerks to do overlapping, redundant jobs. We cut could the federal government by 1/3 and it still would be bloated, inefficient and wasteful.
Ultimately when our kids and their kids are mired in grotesque poverty, dealing with systemic inflation, someone will say: “Hey, remember when liberals in the chattering classes and the Democrat Party fought for decades tooth and nail against spending less federal dollars? Turns out that destroyed the entire economy.” Alas, even then, it’ll fall on deaf ears.
Every time Tsar says something worthwhile, he throws in three or four “leftists are crazy” lines that make his whole post look like something he yelled from a bunker.
I’d say both James and the Tsar are suffering mood affiliation.
They know we are accomplishing little in Afghanistan. They know “closing costs” will be there regardless. And yet Grayson must be wrong.
Billions of dollars are wasted each year by the Defense Department on unnecessary and extremely costly military excursions into foreign lands, security and maintenance of a bloated nuclear arsenal, and on overpriced, overrated, and unneeded military vehicles and equipment projects to satiate the needs of corporate defense contractors.
Rather than simply eliminate these monies from the federal budget, we should strive for a lateral shift in spending, using these funds for desperately needed infrastructural projects at home — including roads, highways, and bridges, fresh water distribution and power grids, high speed telecommunications, digital security, and public school building maintenance and construction.
Like that damn fighter.
@labman57: The F-35 would be a good place to start.
Entire F-35 fleet grounded over engine issues
Small problem is — not shockingly, since it’s Alan Grayson — that these “war savings” have been calculated by the White House for other things already. So, like every other liberal, he’s using the same funding source that about 3 million others have all claimed for their personal pet projects.
Government accounting. Got to love it.
-1, Grayson is pressing for a “get out ASAP” plan, something the White House has not supported or budgeted.
Those are you examples of wasteful government spending? With an exception or two (diversity training?) pretty much everything on your list is a necessary function of government in a modern nation state, unless you think society without say work safety regulations (OSHA), ability to tackle tax fraud (audits), basic protection of the environment (wildlife protections) and so on an so on is worth living in.
I had forgotten that that idiot was back in Congress.
I’ve heard worse ideas.
Cannot be done in a single year. Would cause a huge amount of people to lose their jobs. Would turn certain cities and counties into ghosttowns overnight.
How do you reconcile the administrations desire for more STEM graduates with your desire to law off a massive number of them.
@john personna: My point isn’t that “Grayson must be wrong” but rather that “Grayson is making an impractical, knee jerk suggestion that comes from the right place.” I’ve been advocating cutting our losses in Afghanistan for years now. But exit has to be coordinated with our allies and phased over more than a year owing to the simple logistics of extraction. And it’s already underway, incidentally; the only thing we’re haggling over now is how small the footprint will be at the end of 2014.
This is a bit of closing the barndoor after the horse. I hope that the next adventure overseas (Iran for example) that we get dragged into has the debate upfront on how we are going to pay for it. I think an insistence on a war tax would put some dampening on any enthusiasm.
I know I shouldn’t feed Tsar, but who started this war anyway? Oh, and the other one over in Iraq too.
Also – who started that long war in Libya where we have been bogged down for the last couple of years with 100,000 troops, billions of dollars and no end in sight. Nobody – that’s who. When Democrats handle a foreign conflict, they do it the most fiscally and humanely responsible way possible.
@Tony W: (and I’ll qualify my claim by adding – Post-Vietnam)
The “unless” clause here reduces Grayson’s plan to “ASAP,” something we both really support:
You want to add “and with efficient materiel transfer,” that would be fine.
@john personna: Given that we’re likely to be down to a token force by the end of 2014 at this point, ASAP and status quo are virtually identical at this point.
Again, I’m not disagreeing with Grayson’s sentiment, just noting that it’s not actually going to save use hundreds of billions of dollars.