“Deficit-Reduction Fever”

More from the fabulous Mark Steyn.

Let us note in passing that, according to the official CBO estimates, a whole decade’s worth of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan adds up to little more than Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. But, aside from that, in what sense are these “savings”? The Iraq War is ended – or, at any rate, “ended,” at least as far as U.S. participation in it is concerned. How then can congressional accountants claim to be able to measure “savings” in 2021 from a war that ended a decade earlier? And why stop there? Why not estimate around $2 trillion in savings by 2031? After all, that would free up even more money for a bigger stimulus package, wouldn’t it? And it wouldn’t cost us anything because it would all be “savings.”

Come to think of it, didn’t the Second World War end in 1945? Could we have the CBO score the estimated two-thirds of a century of “budget savings” we’ve saved since ending that war? We could use the money to fund free master’s degrees in Complacency and Self-Esteem Studies for everyone, and that would totally stimulate the economy. The Spanish—American War ended 103 years ago, so imagine how much cash has already piled up! Like they say at Publishers Clearing House, you may already have won!

Craig Newmark

Associate Professor of Economics, North Carolina State Univ.

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