24 November 2006

Finally - A Plan for Iraq

Here's a plan that would save us money and lives and might even gain us friends in Iraq. Only Halliburton might lose in this plan.

First, it is worth noting that before the invasion, Iraq's total GDP was $22 billion. We are now spending $100 billion a year on the occupation. The plan follows almost automatically from the juxtaposition of these two facts.

Pull out the troops. In its place, put in a plan to pay each Iraqi a sum that would total up to about $55 billion - about $1,000 per Iraqi and more than twice as much as they had before the invasion. This plan suggests a variety of questions, but it would be an opportunity for the conservatives who so strongly supported the invasion to show their faith in markets.

How to rebuild Iraq? Let every family have money to pay for contractors to repair their portion of the country. This might well prime the pump, stimulating construction projects and new businesses. We could have a plan to pay the sum for, say, two years, and after that draw down the sum by about 20% a year until it reaches a stable point.

What would be the result? We'd save money and lives. Iraqis would have resources to help themselves. And the 50% plus unemployment might even drop as the economy was infused with money that could be used to buy goods and services.

What is the old bumper sticker? Tourists go home (and leave your daughters). This could be similar. Troops go home (and leave your budget). It's time that the conservatives remembered that they don't trust government programs and do trust markets. Let their policy reflect this.


Life Hiker said...

This would have been a great plan from day one, but a healthy, independent Iraq was not what Bush & Co. had in mind when we invaded.

There are only 26 million Iraqis, so your $1,000 per person plan could have been implemented for half the $55 billion you mentioned.

Bush & Co. wanted the U.S. to have a permanent military presence in Iraq, and a client state that would give us big time clout in that area of the world. Isn't it amazing how badly the plans of dreamers tend to work out?

As a postscript, I should mention that I wrote the following in my blog of November 15, 2005: "To help put the Iraq war cost in perspective, just think of it as $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in that unfortunate country. Don't you think we would have been better off by just offering every Iraqi $5,000 upon the overthrow of Saddam and the installation of a constitutional democracy? That would be the free market in action!"

Great minds think alike!

Ron said...

Oops. I need to do a better job of keeping up on your blog. One of the things about the Internet - it certainly reveals that creativity isn't necessarily associated with originality. I was once going to write a posting about the Republican's Reign of Error coming to a close but made the mistake of first googling the term - it turns out that it had been written about 76,000 times. Having said that, I have read enough of your postings that I can see my opinion in much of them; for that we need to thank the Internet for not feeling like Martians most of the time we're reading the mainstream media. There are kindred spirits out there!

I guess I fall into the very small minority camp of people who don't have a clue what Bush intended by invading and occupying Iraq - itself worthy of a post.

Life Hiker said...

I can't say that George Bush told me he wanted to stay in Iraq, but I did read a long paper that Paul Wolfowitz wrote well before the Iraq war. It seemed to me that he thought we could only influence that part of the world if we had a strong and secure base for military operations there. Iraq fit the bill perfectly...that is, until it didn't.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem with dispersing money directly to individuals is this: how do you keep the men with guns from taking it from them?