April 20, 2010

Feingold wants U.S. to actually pay the costs of war

Sen. Russ Feingold wants the impossible. The headline on a press release from his office this morning read: 
Feingold pushes Congress to ensure Iraq,
Afghanistan wars do not add to deficit
Yeah, and I want my credit card bills to be paid by Donald Trump.

Feingold's said today he will offer an amendment to the Senate budget resolution "requiring that the cost of ongoing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq be paid for." His amendment "would require that additional costs of the two wars be paid over the next 10 years, rather than be added to budget deficits.

Financing the costs over 10 years "will help avoid any potentially harmful fiscal hits to our still-recovering economy," Feingold said.

I can see where Feingold coming from, but he's drawing a fine, fine line. Whether we pay our bills over 10 years or simply refinance ad nauseum and add them to our country's mortgage... um, national debt, the bills still have to be paid, eventually. The best answer, of course, is to get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here's Feingold's complete statement:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold announced today that he will offer an amendment to the Senate budget resolution requiring that the costs of the United States’ ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq be paid for. Feingold, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said he would offer the amendment when the committee takes up the budget resolution, which could be as early as this week. Feingold’s amendment would require that policies be enacted now to pay for additional costs of the two wars over the next 10 years, rather than just adding to budget deficits. Allowing the wars to be paid for over the next decade will help avoid any potentially harmful fiscal hits to our still-recovering economy.

“A massive, open-ended military strategy for Afghanistan not only puts American lives at risk needlessly and hurts our efforts to combat al Qaeda globally, but it also continues to pile on to our massive debt,” Feingold said. “President Obama has said he would start putting the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on the books, instead of the shell game we saw under President Bush. But simply including the war costs in the budget does not require us to actually pay for them. If the president and the Congress choose to continue these wars, they should at least find a way to pay for them.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. has already spent $1.09 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If supplemental funding requested for this year and funding requested for next year are included, by the end of 2011, we will have spent $1.29 trillion on both wars. The cost to date of military operations in Iraq, which Senator Feingold voted against authorizing in 2002, is $747.6 billion, while the total cost of Afghanistan to date is $303.8 billion.

Last year, we spent nearly $60 billion in Afghanistan. In 2010, the mission in Afghanistan is expected to cost taxpayers at least $72.7 billion, and if the president’s supplemental request is granted, it will cost taxpayers $104.8 billion – every penny of which will be added to the budget deficit.

“I oppose the president’s strategy in Afghanistan because it hurts our ability to go after al Qaeda globally,” Feingold said. “But if we are going to continue these military operations, I hope we can all agree that they should be paid for so we can avoid going deeper into debt and adding to the enormous burden we are asking our children and grandchildren to bear.”


  1. Who knew Russ was secret teabagger? Pay for the war instead of adding it to the tab? I'm all for it, but somehow I don't think the teabags will agree...

  2. Sounds like a good idea to me.

  3. Tim the Shrubber4/20/2010 6:27 PM

    No if only we could get Feingold to take this position on all gov't spending, and not just the spending he doesn't support...then we might have a story.

  4. "The best answer, of course, is to get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan."
    Is this the Huffington Post or Racine Post? Does every story have to be an op-ed?

  5. Agree with Tim the Shrubber.
    Wish he would have taken the same stance with the HealthCare Bill and some of his other votes. Apparently he only wants cash on delivery when he is against the idea.

  6. Health Care is an open ended continuous program where war funding should have a finite end. This is the cash on delivery difference. Its not about liking certain programs.

  7. Anonymous 9:27: You're mistaking saving money for spending money. They are not the same thing The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Democrats' recently passed and signed health care legislation will "produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues."

  8. I would like to see the spoils of war pay for it. Our boys die and WE pay for it. NO! I say we take some of Iraq's oil feilds profits until we are paid back.

  9. Hunter John is proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

    That was the claim they made for going in to this stupid war, it would get paid for and someone did get paid...Exxon, BP, Halliburton.

    We're bankrupting our nation for corporations to get rich dummy.


  10. Jim the Irish Pubber4/21/2010 1:07 PM

    Tim the Shrubber = Ignorant Fool