Bush speaks again...

As Bush's approval rating has slipped to an all time low, Americans, and nations abroad are questioning him, and his motives for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq. In a recent speech, covered by BBC, Bush gave yet another foggy, and unsubstanital explanation as to why the U.S. is still in Iraq, and after reading his remarks from this article, I had a number of thoughts come to me. In economics, I learned that in an efficient society, marginal social costs should be equal to marginal social benefits, so shouldn't a multi-billion dollar war be measured in terms of its social costs, and social benefits? At a cost of billions of dollars every month, according to Iraq War, why hasn't more been accomplished in terms of gains, or benefits for humanity? The Iraqi people, particularly women, are still as oppressed as ever, and I believe that all the U.S. has to show for their presence in Iraq are more headstones, widowed wives, orphaned children and grieving friends, and family. The same can also be said for the Iraqi's. Is it really our job to save Iraq at the expense of thousands of our citizens? Bush, true to form, continues to sentimentally tell the people of the World that the U.S. needs to continue its mission in Iraq, but I must speak out in opposition. The U.S.' economy, and state of humanity is deeply suffering, and it is time for President Bush to come up with a new venture that will equalize society's marginal costs, and marginal benefits. Why isn't Bush shelling out $7 billion of our hard earned tax dollars every month to help us? There are homeless missions throughout the United States filled with people who could receive job training, and a sense of hope for their lives. If those people could be given a second chance at life, could attain employment, could provide for their children, and could contribute to society, everyone would be better off, not just one man in pursuit of a major political power stroke.


Connor said...

I was impressed your post. One thing that bothers me though so much is how the majority of the people have somehow forgot that we caught Saddam Hussein! How do you put a price tag on that? Other than that one fact that is ALWAYS left out, I totally agree with all that your thoughts concerning reallocating $7 billion towards us. It definitely appears that the social costs do not equal the social benefits, but do we know what lies ahead of us. Remember, we are getting most of our information from the media. To that I share with you directions from some friends and family that have been in Iraq, in which they stated, "..do not listen to the news. The media is so tainted that is pisses us off!" So again, what you and I see is not the whole picture, rather it is a distorted picture that does not make a lot of sense to us in the present time.

ethan said...

I think that people should respect the President. If you were in his shoes you would be singing a different song. If under your watch a terrorist group attacked your country what would you do? You would do exactly what George Bush did. He had only a few options on how to act. You should stop the criticism and try to support the country you live in. That or leave.

taylor said...

I think that overall President Bush has done a pretty good job considering everything that has happened while he has been the president. You are right by saying that the war in Iraq is putting a strain on the U.S. but I think that we have no other choice than to finish what we have started. If we pull out now it will make us look weak. Our country and our troops need our support to get through this.

Dr. Tufte said...

Hmmm. I think this is a really good attempt to apply economic thinking to this position.

Let me point out a few things.

First off, the "costs" of the war are vastly overstated. A lot of things are being dumped into war financing bills that the government would be paying for anyway, so they're not really marginal costs of the war.

Second, a lot of the money is being spent here, not in Iraq. Most of the paychecks, hazard pay, combat pay, medical and disability benefits, weapons expenses and so on are being spent here - so it's hard to claim that we'd be better off if we spent the money in other ways just because we fixed something up around here. That might be morally preferable, but it is probably economically neutral.

The biggest problem though is the misapplication of economic priniciples. If anything, the marginal social benefit of doing anything in Iraq is probably greater than the marginal social benefit of doing anything in the U.S. We might prefer that for political or social reasons, but it is wrong on economic grounds.

Having said that, I'm really glad you tried! Someone has to start making arguments from reasonable principles before others can get evolved in a debate in a rational way.