An official estimate of the cost of rebuilding Iraq, or whatever it is we did, was recently released by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). Of the roughly $60 billion spent on reconstruction, it estimates that we wasted $8 billion. The Atlantic points out that this amounts to $1,500 of taxpayer money wasted per minute.
As we all know, quite a few people believe that their tax dollars should not go towards anything they personally morally oppose. This seems to only apply to women’s reproductive health in the minds of these particular people, but let’s expand the idea further, shall we?
- The population of the United States, as of the Census Bureau’s estimate at 16:19 UTC on March 6, 2013, is 315,444,368.
- Applying the formula devised by top Republican thinkers, the United States has 167,185,515 taxpayers.
- I have paid federal income tax for numerous years, and I own my own business, so I know that I am part of Ayn Rand’s ruling class.
- If we divide the total amount of money allegedly wasted in Iraq among all American taxpayers, it comes to $47.85 per taxpayer.
- If we were to divide it among both taxpayers and everyone else, it comes to $25.36.
I have often made the argument that I want my money back from the Iraq war if we don’t have to fund government activities we morally oppose. To be honest, I thought the per-taxpayer number would be higher. While I set out to make a ridiculous demand for an untenable sum from the government when I started writing this post, ten minutes ago, I see that its purpose has, ahem, evolved. Any single government program is unlikely to affect any individual taxpayer’s bill very much. The numbers sound big, but there are also a lot of Americans.
That said, if the government were to send me a check for $47.85, or even just $25.36, I’d accept it.
This still does not address the concern about funding things that someone morally opposes. For that, I guess all I can say is that the government can’t make all of the people happy all of the time, and if your opposition is to other people having the realistic ability to control their own lives and bodies, I’m inclined to say suck it up.
Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Shane S. Keller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.