Carl Levin is wrong

Talking Points Memo | GAO: Iraq could have $79 billion budget surplus

“The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large-scale reconstruction projects,” Levin said in a statement. “It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves.”

“It is time for the sovereign government of Iraq, using its revenues, expenditures and surpluses, to fully assume the responsibility to provide essential services and improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people,” Warner said.

The GAO said Iraq had an estimated cumulative budget surplus of about $29 billion from 2005 to 2007 and could have another surplus of up to $50 billion this year.

It’s still our responsibility, after all, for completely breaking the place and encouraging corruption at all levels, so that the place is so broken they can’t spend the money effectively even if they want to. What good does it do to have billions of dollars in the bank when someone has broken all the fingers on your check-writing hand?

(in general, this kind of surplus, which exists only because the structures to spend the money don’t function, is a really terrible sign for a country — it tells you that things are seriously broken, and that the incentives for corruption are greater than any sane human being could resist.)

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