Yes, Obama, wars cause deficits!

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

By Sharon Miller, CODEPINK San Francisco intern

This morning, President Obama made some remarks on economic growth and deficit reduction. His remarks could have been worse, but they also could have been much, much better.

I am glad that Obama acknowledged that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost US taxpayers lots and lots of money; $1 trillion was the figure the president gave. It’s also nice that he has said he will veto any bill that cuts Medicare without taxing the rich. And I appreciate his brief rebuttal to those ridiculous accusations of “class warfare.”

However, I’m less impressed with certain assumptions behind President Obama’s statements today. I disagree with the assumption that profligate war spending is somehow inevitable. And I disagree with the assumption that Medicare and Social Security need to be on the chopping block to make up for the deficits caused by profligate war spending. What if Obama said that the necessity of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other vital programs meant that the US might no longer be able to afford its wars, instead of saying (in so many words) that our inevitably wasteful war spending is part of what is endangering the social safety net?

We must ask why the war did not figure more prominently in Obama’s deficit talk. We need to question the assumption that the movement for economic justice is somehow separate from the movement to end war, occupation, and militarism.

In other words, we need to remind President Obama and Congress: Bring our war dollars home!

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