Cleveland used to illustrate Iraq war cost

Submitted by Roldo on Fri, 03/21/2008 - 15:28.

The Nation magazine chose Cleveland as the city to illustrate the cost of the War in Iraq to one troubled city. The two-page spread in the March 31 issue shows what could have been bought to meet public needs with $479.2 million, Cleveland’s share of the war cost.

“We chose here to highlight the tradeoffs the war has imposed on one working class city: Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland has suffered more, in economic terms, than other parts of the country, but its experience is far from unusual,” the article said.

The total cost of the war to U. S. citizens is $522.5 billion (although some now put the actual long-term cost at $3 TRILLION.)

The display reveals that Cleveland has 22.2 percent of its population living in poverty. The rate for the nation is 9.8 percent. The child poverty rate is 41.9 percent compared to a U. S. rate of 18.3 percent. The unemployment rate for Cleveland is 16.1 percent compared to a 6.4 percent rate for the U. S.

With a striking graphic display the report shows what services $479.1 million cost of the war for Clevelanders could support in human terms. We could do all of these at the same time:

Homes with renewable electricity: 48,784; healthcare for children, 24,772 children; healthcare for adults, 14,601 people; Head Start  places for children, 6,726;  scholarships for university students, 5,390; added public safety forces, 1,045; port container inspectors, 899; elementary school teachers, 740; music and art teachers, 667; affordable housing units, 406; and new elementary schools, four.

The graphics used make a more powerful impact that the mere statement of the numbers, though they are shocking enough.

“The cost of the war to Cleveland,” it notes, “is based on Ohio taxpayers’ share of taxes paid into the federal funds budget, adjusted for Cleveland’s population and median household income.”

Hell, the $479.2 million could have bought us a medical mart and convention center with no borrowing!

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What we could do with $479.2 million

Thanks to The Nation for illustrating how smart money may be spent to renew a community - if there isn't $100 million in there for lead eradication, add that... the real number we need to spend for such real, tangible public works and social services is in the $ billions. That the number is huge, and won't come from the Fed, doesn't mean we don't spend it... but it does limit what other things on which we spend money. We have things backwards here... our leaders focus all their attention on a few rich people, who make this an unhealthy place in many ways. If we instead focus on making this a healthy place, in many ways, then there will definitely be more rich people here... that means more money for politicians.

We have $ billions to spend to repair this community - the money can be made available for that, if we spend public funds and leverage public trust wisely. We aren't.

Disrupt IT

make 'em sick - make 'em well

Instead we will spend $800 million for a freakin' Medical Mart!!!

Screw infrastructure. Who cares about clean water, clean air, clean soil, education, safe communities, jobs in technologies that would improve our environment and our national security? Who cares? Let's sign on to support 50 more years of dirty dangerous coal - yeah, that's the spirit! Let's argue about the toothless EPA's ozone stricture tightening - hell we don't care if we can breathe as long as the Cavs win. (Just try watching a Cavs Game while someone holds your head under water.) We don't care how much we pay for their arena, their practice facilities their gilded freakin' basketball shorts or the gilded freakin' shoulder pads of the Browns.

Let's have more bread and circuses!

$800 million to build a money losing convention center in this economy! What a waste! Next thing you know they'll be quoted as saying, "Let them eat cake". And cake, as we all know, is full of empty calories - leads to obesity. That's right folks make ‘em sick, make ‘em well. The County Commissioners make ‘em sick and the Cleveland Clinic makes ‘em well. Hey, everybody sing. We need this silver bullet - the medmart will solve everything that ails us. Wow! Let's have a party to celebrate! Bring out the champagne and roll in the cake. Hopefully there will be a pretty girl emerging from it cause we need some sordid sex to complete the picture. We're just not keepin’ up with the Eliot Spitzers of the world here in NEO. A good sex scandal - now that would be a diversion from our economic and environmental woes!

This illustration from The Nation more accurately resembles the battle weary populace of our region.

Speaking of port container inspectors... do we really want a container port so we can be part and parcel of the human trafficking that happens in these locations? What about our maritime possibilities?

Oh no! Instead we’ll spend the money on

a medmart convention center - something Nance says will lose money!
If this is going to lose money why would MMPI be interested at all even for a measly $20 million investment while we spend $800 million?
Look at the comparisons of Cleveland and the US in the lower left text box.
Families in Poverty Cleveland 22.2% US 9.8%
Child Poverty Rate Cleveland 41.9% US 18.3%
Unemployment Rate Cleveland 16.1% US 6.4%
I continue to ask how this is planned to work while we’re in recession.
If you are still in denial about our economic woes, read the NYTimes:

Can’t Grasp Credit Crisis? Join the Club

The Affluent, Too, Couldn’t Resist Adjustable Rates

Slump Moves From Wall St. to Main St.

From the last linked article, “Many economists forecast that overall consumer spending will slip 1 percent for the first three months of the year. “That’s a wow,” said Robert Barbera, chief economist for the trading and research firm ITG. “Outright declines for real consumer purchases are unusual.”

So what if this happens in NEO (it probably already is happening here) and the $40 million a year to be generated to pay off the bonds (the ones we should be able to get unless our bond rating goes to hell in a handbasket), can’t be repaid because spending is reduced severely? Then what? Add to that slow down in spending that people are leaving the county – foreclosed, closed out burned out, pissed off, tired, greener grass syndrome, tired of fighting useless political battles, jobs off-shored or for whatever reason?

How are we doing on that rainy day fund? Pretty low, I would guess. Hell, we’re spending $160 million to lock up young black males in a new facility at 93rd and Quincy. We must be expecting a big crack down on a huge sector of the population. Delete those guys from the 1/4 cent sales tax spending. Who’s gonna be spending in Cuyahoga County?

Red an Orchestra died due to a storm. What will cause the death of the medmart – a flood or an earthquake? Or will it be the inability of Cuyahoga County to get a favorable bond rating?