USA Today's Neuharth Blames Iraq for Economic Downturn

The current “money mess” is “primarily because we've spent or authorized more money on the Iraq war (its sixth anniversary is next Thursday) than we're putting into the stimulus program,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth contended in his weekly “Plain Talk” column on Friday. While “many Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans in Congress gave Bush” the authority to go to war in Iraq, “by contrast, the votes on President Obama's recovery or stimulus plan to clean up the mess that Congress helped create with the Iraq misadventure” were not so bi-partisan.

After citing how 246 Democrats House Democrats, but zero Republicans, and 56 Democratic Senators, but only three Republicans, voted for the “stimulus” package, Neuharth scolded Republicans: “Both parties got us into this mess, but only one is trying to get us out of it.”

The Heritage Foundation's James Carafano, in one of two “other views on Iraq and stimulus” printed below Neuharth's column, corrected Neuharth's finger-pointing:
We averaged 8% of our GDP on defense over a decades-long Cold War and never faced an economic downturn like this. Today all defense spending, including Iraq, is only 4% of GDP. Blaming the Pentagon for the recession is just bad math.
In the second “other view” far-left Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio agreed with Neuharth's assessment.

An excerpt from “Money mess created by six years of Iraq,” Neuharth's column in the Friday, March 13 USA Today:
Much is being written and said about the new stimulus law (officially the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). Not enough of us explain or realize why we're in this money mess.

It's primarily because we've spent or authorized more money on the Iraq war (its sixth anniversary is next Thursday) than we're putting into the stimulus program. Comparison:

- The Iraq war $864 billion.

- The stimulus program $787 billion.

Sure, greedy bankers, covetous Wall Streeters, irresponsible buyers of homes and cars they couldn't afford all contributed to this recession. But if we hadn't blown that huge bundle in Iraq, we could have handled our problems here at home more easily....

Many Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans in Congress gave Bush that blank check. Votes on the Iraq resolution:

- House of Representatives: Yes, 215 Republicans, 81 Democrats.

- Senate: Yes, 48 Republicans, 29 Democrats.

By contrast, the votes on President Obama's recovery or stimulus plan to clean up the mess that Congress helped create with the Iraq misadventure:

- House: 246 Democrats, 0 Republicans.

- Senate: 56 Democrats, 3 Republicans.

Both parties got us into this mess, but only one is trying to get us out of it. As a political independent, I understand that. No matter your party affiliation or inclination, you should, too.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center