March 22 08:41 AM

It's true, spending is over the top

September 16, 2009
It's funny how I did not accomplish my intention in last week's column. I started with a particular point in mind but ended up somewhere else. Judging by the letters on this page, that somewhere else was upsetting to a lot of people. They are, as I was last week "unsettled."

Anyhow, I originally set out to point out how Internet calculators are used and depending on where you find them they can be rather alarming.

I noticed this the first time I visited some Web sites of groups I was interested in learning about. Some of these sites include a money counter that spins faster than Bill O'Reilly counting up the national debt. It has so many numerals I don't even know what to call it—trillions I suppose (math is not my strong suit). Anyhow, it continually clicks away as you're looking at other parts of the site. A couple of them I looked at indicated that the portion of national debt for every single citizen of the United States is nearing $290,000. Now that's a lot of loot. I could have a very, very nice time on my portion of the national debt for quite a few years, believe it or not.

My tax dollars hard at work accumulating debt in the 'do as I say, not as I do' fashion that doesn't really make sense. I can see why some people are irked by this. It's disconcerting to think that our country is mortgaged beyond the stratosphere and we're continuing to procreate and reproduce and consume, consume, consume our way into—well, more debt I suppose.

So I decide there may be a really simple way to balance the books a little bit. I decide to check out the National Priorities Project, because like those in other groups, I'm concerned about where government spending is leading. I'm worried about the zillions of dollars funding efforts that don't make sense. Like other efforts to promote an agenda of like-minded people, the National Priorities Project is a "grass roots effort" —ahem—too. According to, the aim is to "analyze and clarify federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent." Included in the analysis is the cost of war, which can be quickly viewed at At that site they, too, have a counter and it's rolling just as fast as any national debt ticker I've ever seen. Since 2001, the war in Iraq has

cost us, the taxpayers, $679,394,085,648. The war in Afghanistan has racked up $225,933,852,030. If only I was better in math and could add the two up! That would really, really make a dent in the deficit as far as I'm concerned.

According to Web site, "The numbers indicate all of the approved funding for the wars to date. In addition to this approved amount, the FY 2010 budget shows a $130 billion request for more war spending. This would bring total war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than $1 trillion. When all FY2010 war- related amounts are approved, we will adjust the counters so that they reach the new totals at the end of FY 2010.

"To date, $915.1 billion dollars have been allocated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This counter is designed so that on September 30, 2009, the end of the federal government's 2009 fiscal year, the counter will reach that total number. Likewise, counters found here for states and towns will also reach their portion of this number at the end of FY 2009."

Well, since the end of FY2009 is right around the corner I thought I'd check out what the wars have cost the state of Michigan. Our economy is headline news in so many ways I wonder why this never makes the cut. Since 2001, the war in Iraq has cost the state $18,052,981,386; the num-ber is $6,003,555,062 for the war in Afghanistan. None of these figures include the future costs of caring for our brave soldiers; for their families and their future.

Yes, government spending is out of control and I'm just as irritated about it as the people I irritated last week. And as a participant in the National Priorities Project, I'm part of a grass roots effort to put a stop to all this out-of-control government spending too.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication.

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