Today, on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) derided the economic recovery package currently before the Senate as “the largest spending bill in history.” Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) fired back that the actual largest spending bill in history “is going to turn out to be the war in Iraq“:
FRANK: The largest spending bill in history is going to turn out to be the war in Iraq…And I don’t understand why, from some of my conservative friends, building a road, building a school, helping somebody get health care, that’s — that’s wasteful spending, but that war in Iraq, which is going to cost us over $1 trillion before we’re through — yes, I wish we hadn’t have done that. We’d have been in a lot better shape fiscally.
Indeed, the New York Times put together an article noting “what 1.2 trillion can buy,” and one of the items is simply the war in Iraq. For that same price, as the Times calculated, America could pay for “an unprecedented public health campaign” and much more, like universal pre-school, rebuilding New Orleans, and implementing “the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place.”
The Iraq war has been financed with borrowed money — while taxes were being cut by the Bush administration — turning a budget surplus into a record deficit and debt. Meanwhile, the economic stimulus will boost consumer demand and put people back to work, while simultaneously investing in long-term strength through infrastructure, health care, and education. Which does DeMint think will ultimately be of more value to the American people?