Thursday, December 03, 2009

Afghan surge may force hard choices at home

Escalating troops and war in Afghanistan at this late date may cost our gimpy economic situation dearly. Michael Tackett reads the tea leaves:
“More often than not, presidents misjudge what they achieve through these conflicts and then they are unable to control the domestic agenda when they become distracted by war,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.

“This idea of guns and butter that Johnson talked about is false,” he said, referring to former President Lyndon Johnson, who escalated U.S. involvement in Vietnam at the same time he expanded social-welfare programs at home.

Obama’s challenge is greater in many ways because he’s also pressing to remake health care, which represents about 18 percent of the nation’s economy, reverse an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent and deal with a record $1.4 trillion deficit. And the war itself, polls show, is increasingly unpopular.

The White House estimates the cost of the additional troops will be $30 billion next year. Versions of health-care legislation are estimated to cost between $848 billion and more than $1 trillion over 10 years. Some Democrats are pushing the president to propose a second economic-stimulus package on top of the $787 billion plan, and Obama has said he wants climate- change legislation, which may also prove costly.
And dare we mention the need for new domestic programs that support the next generation of casualties (including collateral damage to military families) returning home after the surge ends?

No comments:

Post a Comment