Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Permanent Costs of the Iraq War

Coyote Blog raises some important points for the pro-war Right to consider about the long-term political fallout of the war:

1. In 2009 we will have a Democratic Congress and President for the first time since 1994.
2. The next President will use the deficits from the $1.3 billion [sic- should be trillion] in Iraq war spending to justify a lot of new taxes
3. These new taxes, once the war spending is over, will not be used for deficit reduction but for new programs that, once established, will be nearly impossible to eliminate
4. No matter what the next president promises to the electorate, they are not going to reverse precedents for presidential power and secrecy that GWB has established. Politicians never give up power voluntarily. [if the next president is Hillary, she is likely to push the envelope even further]. Republicans are not going to like these things as much when someone of the other party is using them.

Coyote Blog suggests these four things are inevitable, presumably unless there is a dramatic shift in Republican policy between now and the election (ie, a Ron Paul victory or a reversal in positions by the eventual nominee). I agree. GOP popularity is as low as I've ever seen it and some Dems are thinking of nominating Hillary not because she's particularly electable but because they know they're going to win no matter what (and just want to piss off Republicans even more). So it's tough to see how a GOP candidate will win next year without a stunning reversal of some sort. Any Dem President will inevitably- and with some justification- pursue a tax hike to pay for the war deficit. But since Washington is what it is, if and when a surplus comes around, the response will inevitably be to create some new set of programs/entitlements. As Coyote Blog points out- once an entitlement is in place, it's just about impossible to get rid of it.

So, the question for Republicans is this: is the continued prosecution of the Iraq war effort so vital to our nation's security that it is worth the creation of a permanent state of neo-socialism? If the answer is yes, then I would ask that you turn in your Free Market Fan Club cards at the door.