Tim and Eric’s latest video from the Palin book signing/homeless encampment includes a debate between Tim and some kid over which cost more: the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or the Stimulus Bill (AARA).

The short answer, just based on actual spending approved by Congress, is the War. By a few hundred billion. Sorry duct tape shirt kid but you are wrong on this one.

According to a report by the Congressional Research Services from two months ago:

“Congress has approved a total of about $944 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans? health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks.”

The same report estimates that the cost will rise to $1.08 trillion by next year.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka the stimulus bill) came in around $787 billion.

It seems important to note that nearly 37% ($288 billion) of the stimulus bill’s ‘costs’ are in the form of tax cuts for individuals and businesses – something no real tax-hating Republican should be bitching about. Which leads me to believe that the resentment self-described Republicans seem to have for the stimulus bill has very little to do with the actual bill itself.

And if they spent any time reviewing the targets of the actual spending (‘checking your sources’ as Senior Duct Tape would say), I think they might realize that most, if not all, of the stimulus spending is a much better investment in America than every single penny of the funds spent on the current wars in which we are involved. For example:

  • $51.2 billion was spent on roads, bridges, railways, sewers, other transportation
  • $8.9 billion on scientific research
  • $82.5 billion on job training and similiar services for low income workers, unemployed and retirees
  • $29.5 billion was invested into government facilities and vehicle fleets
  • $61.3 billion was spent on Energy including loans and investments into green energy technology
  • and $90.9 billion was spent on Education

It seems pretty clear that, not only is the war more expensive, but the money spent on the war was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars compared to the stimulus money.

And before you start lecturing me about the interest payments associated with the stimulus bill, please remember the stimulus bill didn’t kill thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. The stimulus bill isn’t going to require 50+ years of medical care costs for the tens of thousands of American soldiers who had their limbs blown off and their skulls smashed in by IEDs. And the stimulus spending was a one-time, targeted INVESTMENT in American infrastructure, workers and businesses. What exactly did we get from the trillion dollars we spent in the Middle East again?

Bitching about the stimulus bill’s interest payments while defending the war spending intentionally ignores the actual return expected from each.

It’s like bitching at me for borrowing 200K to buy a house, pay for my college education and repair a serious problem with my heart while you run out and blow 200K of your own money on a wicked sports car that you immediately drive into a tree – destroying the car, fucking up the tree and causing yourself permanent physical and emotion damage that will require constant, expensive medical care for the rest of your life.

Why doesn’t it surprise me that that some little smart-ass kid from Dublin doesn’t understand this?