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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Faulty logic in opposition to the Iraq War:

There are plenty of valid and good reasons why the Iraq War is such a bloody nightmare, and there are at least as many reasons for us to get the hell out of there. However, one reason that I see cropping up repeatedly among the left is that the money could be better used to afford universal health care. I'm sorry, but for one, the mathematics don't work. Since estimates of the annual cost varies, I'll go with a number I've seen used on Snave's Blog, $125 billion per annum. The 2004 budget for the Veterans Administration, which, to be fair, includes services in addition to the better-known health benefits, was $60 billion, yet deplorable conditions were found at the outpatient center even at the flagship Walter Reed Medical Center, and this is far from uncommon. Multiply that by the population of the United States, and you come up with a number far greater than $125 billion. Also, if the government was willing to allow that kind of neglect dating at least as far as the previous administration for those who have sacrificed the most for this country and their widows and orphans, what makes anyone think they'd do any better for the average citizen? For an answer to that question, I think we only need to look to our neighbors to the north. Socialized medicine, as good as it sounds on paper, invariably turns into a nightmare whose expense easily dwarfs that of the Iraq War. As a result, I will never support this type of program.

So, assume the Iraq War ends today, and the government now has an additional $125 billion to spend. What should be done with the money? I can think of a few ideas. The first priority should be to put that money towards the national debt, and to find ways to greatly streamline the federal government so that money can also make this nation solvent once more. This will benefit both us and the generations to come.

However, if you don't want to do that, there's another favorite of mine: research into alternative fuels and trebling fuel economy. I even have a preferred method for that. NASA has been using the same space shuttle design for 30 years or thereabouts, and they haven't come up with a workable replacement. At this point, NASA has become so mired in red tape that even minor changes to their technology require a tremendous investment in time and money. As a result, I think the government is clearly not the answer, or at least not the answer directly, to this question. Instead, I cite the Ansari X Prize as a shining example of competition spurring rapid advances in technology. State a goal, put out a fat reward for whomever achieves it first, and let the chips fall where they may. If it's big enough, it will even generate its own press. To that end, the people behind the Ansari X Prize are now in the process of drafting rules for an Automotive X Prize, with the most recent draft having been released on April 2, 2007. Actually, I prefer the X Prizes because they are privately funded, but if they want, they should follow as closely as possible the example of the Ansari family. Just a thought...

1 comment:

Snave said...

I think your ideas for what else could be done with something like $125 billion annually are very sound. There are just so many things we could be doing differently if we weren't having to spend the dough on Iraq. You are right in suggesting that things are always going to cost more to implement or do than we realize.