Federal budget tinkering

Tuesday, 25 November 2003, 18:55 | Category : Politics
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I found this site , which lets you play with the Federal 2003-2004 budget, to see the effect of various cuts and increases. One of the things I found, while messing with the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, was that if you completely eliminated the tax cut for the bottom 95% of taxpayers (those making less than $154,000 per year), you would save about $100 billion dollars. If instead, you simply eliminated the tax cut for the top 5%, more than $154,000, you would save $91 billion dollars. Simply put, the two Bush tax cuts give almost as much assistance to the top 5% as they do to the remaining 95%. That’s fairness in Republican philosophy. Interestingly, eliminating the cuts for the top 5% would just about fund Bush’s Iraq war for 2003. For now, anyway.

Botched Occupation? Well, yes.

Saturday, 8 November 2003, 20:14 | Category : Politics
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Scott links to this article about the occupation of Iraq. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe contrasts the occupation of Iraq to our ocuparion of post-war Germany in early 1946, I suppose with the intent of convincing us that we should sit back and watch our Iraqi occupation similarly succeed. I would point out two major differences between Germany and Iraq: Germany had just been defeated in a European war that lasted 6 years and devastated most of Europe and much of North Africa. Germany had invaded her neighbors and attempted to conquer all of Europe. Iraq’s only military offense was to invade one small country that could arguably be considered historically a part of Iraq. And, I don’t recall hundreds of American soldiers being killed and wounded in Germany in the months following the German surrender.

I’m not advocating that we abandon Iraq. We’re there, and thanks to the bullheaded policies of the Bush administration, we’re there alone in a very screwed-up situation (I could also point out the other major difference between Germany circa 1946 and Iraq 2003 – the presence and support of major allies). But trying to make us feel better about this mess by reminding us of postwar Germany is ludicrous. Yes, we have to stay, and we’ll bear most, if not all, of the ever-escalating cost of this boondoggle. And in November 2004, we need to fire the man who put us there.

Iraq: Why?

Wednesday, 5 November 2003, 10:23 | Category : Iraq
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Calpundit has a lengthy take on this. Interesting read.

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What was Saddam thinking?

Monday, 3 November 2003, 13:16 | Category : Iraq
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Despite all my ranting on Bush and his determination to go to war with Iraq, it’s still difficult for me to believe that GWB oversaw a deliberate campaign of lies and deceit to get what he wanted. It’s becoming more and more obvious that there simply weren’t weapons of mass destruction, at least in numbers any greater than would be present in a very basic test lab scenario. Certainly, it doesn’t appear that there were any operational stocks. So what was going on? Steve Coll of The Washington Post has an article that raises many interesting questions about Saddam Hussein’s thought processes in the months, and years, leading up to the war. Among the points he covered were possible involvement by France and Russia in the pre-war period, although exactly what role they played is obviously unclear at the moment. And Saddam seems to have lived in a world of delusions. So you had one leader acting on the basis of the world he thought he saw, opposed by another leader acting on the basis of the world he thought he saw, and I don’t think either one was dealing with reality as the rest of the world saw it.

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