Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wealth Redistribution

Republican critics are constantly invoking the term "wealth redistribution" when discussing the profligate spending of President Obama and congressional Democrats. Whether it's the stimulus, health care reform, or the continuation of bailouts for behemoth corporate institutions, Republican critics do have a point: the government is seizing wealth from one group of citizens and distributing it to another.

Many Republicans have even broken with the President Bush's big government conservatism. All of this is to be applauded as a step in the right direction for the Republican party and movement conservatives.

However, while conservatives no longer regard the Bush-Cheney administration as fiscally responsible they are still revered as the apotheosis of national security conservatives.

Dick Cheney is still around and ridiculing Obama for being "weak on terror" and "wrong on national security". He's not nearly as interested in defending Bush's horrible track record on economic policy or fiscal conservatism as he is the War on Terror.

Dick didn't get a standing ovation at CPAC because of his small-government track record, he got it because he's a staunch defender of the War on Terror and he attacks Obama for being weak on national security issues.

Yet, there is a far more insidious form of wealth redistribution going on in America that the Republican base and the Tea Partiers are absolutely silent about: the redistribution of wealth that is Dick Cheney's War on Terror.

As Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz write in the Washington Post:

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free war. The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can't spend $3 trillion -- yes, $3 trillion -- on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home. - counting only approved funding for the wars and ignoring external costs - arrives at a figure of 7,332 dollars spent on Dick's wars per taxpayer. This doesn't even include Obama's recent Afghanistan surge.

So where is the Republican criticism of the massive wealth redistribution that is Dick Cheney's blessed War on Terror?