Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The "Hidden Costs" of Having Idiots in Congress

The Democrats in Congress have found the "hidden cost" of the Iraq and Afghanistan engagements and it's really, really big, according tothis:
The total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could balloon to $3.5 trillion over the next decade because of such "hidden" costs as oil market disruptions, foregone investments, long-term health care for veterans and interest payments on borrowed war funding, according to a report released by congressional Democrats on Tuesday.
Well, dog my cat, but I believe this is the first time this particular group of idiots have ever tried to figure out the "hidden cost" of anything.

What about a look at the "hidden costs" of the War of Poverty, which has been going
on for what, 40+ years? Economist Thomas Sowell wrote of that noble effort:
The War on Poverty represented the crowning triumph of the liberal vision of society -- and of government programs as the solution to social problems. The disastrous consequences that followed have made the word "liberal" so much of a political liability that today even candidates with long left-wing track records have evaded or denied that designation.

In the liberal vision, slums bred crime. But brand-new government housing projects almost immediately became new centers of crime and quickly degenerated into new slums. Many of these projects later had to be demolished. Unfortunately, the assumptions behind those projects were not demolished, but live on in other disastrous programs, such as Section 8 housing.

Rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal disease had been going down for years before the new 1960s attitudes toward sex spread rapidly through the schools, helped by War on Poverty money. These downward trends suddenly reversed and skyrocketed.

The murder rate had also been going down, for decades, and in 1960 was just under half of what it had been in 1934. Then the new 1960s policies toward curing the "root causes" of crime and creating new "rights" for criminals began. Rates of violent crime, including murder, skyrocketed.

The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.
In 2004, after the spending of billions and billions of dollars ($5 trillion?), we made some progress, but:

Or what about the U.S. Department of Education which oversees a large budget of
...about $67.2 billion per year—$57.5 billion in discretionary appropriations and $9.7 billion in mandatory appropriations—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. The Department's elementary and secondary programs annually serve more than 14,000 school districts and approximately 56 million students attending some 94,000 public schools and 28,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to more than 10 million postsecondary students.

That said, it is important to point out that education in America is primarily a State and local responsibility, and ED's budget is only a small part of both total national education spending
You know, over a few years, $67 billion per year could add up to real money. And you still end up with a educational system in which 50% of the students will be below average. And the national total of state and local money spent on education is about $1 trillion per year, so figure the costs of forgone investments, interest and long term health care for teachers (not to mention pensions) and you probably get to quite a number. And we know the education system is broken, because every years there's a new announcement to that effect that also specifies that with just a little more "investment" by the taxpayers, all the students will be above average,in defiance of all logic (see here).

More recently, Congress has been helping us all out by mandating increased use of ethanol, which has had the effect of not lowering gas prices, raising food prices and doing virtually nothing to improve the environment (and it may be making it worse). See here:
Congress has decided to use our tax payer dollars to raise the price of food, increase the cost of motor fuels, and promote global warming. One could make the case Congressional action has also increased malnutrition, hunger, and disease. And why did Congress fund this immoral program? Because our politicians leaders are locked in a nasty battle for political power. It was a politically expedient decision. A pop-culture solution.

Thanks for all the help. Those "hidden costs" are killing us.

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