[OPE] Introduction to Three Notes on Budgetary Priorities

From: michael perelman <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
Date: Thu Jul 30 2009 - 22:47:37 EDT

At the time that my university system faces almost half a billion
dollars (yes, with a B) in budget cuts, I have felt the need to rant
about budget priorities. As Joseph Schumpeter wrote: “the budget is the
skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.”

People outside of California could not possibly comprehend the perverted
logic of our prison system, which consumes more of the budget than state
support of higher education. The number of public needs that deserve
serious funding is enormous. The most ridiculous waste of money is the

I intended to write today about the military budget, going beyond Joseph
Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes’s estimate of the $3 trillion dollar war,
looking at the harm done to and by veterans, over and above the medical
costs that Stiglitz and Bilmes count.

I had planned to begin with Dave Philipps’ articles on the how the war
experience has screwed up soldiers’ minds. He documents a rash of
murders occurred near Fort Carson, Colorado. The murderers are from a
small unit that experienced exceptionally heavy fighting and casualties.
This morning I was pleasantly surprised to hear Philipps interviewed on
Democracy Now, going into more detail.
The next note will point to the problem of homelessness among veterans.

The final note will note the recent discovery that Agent Orange did more
harm to veterans health than previously recognized. I suspect that more
information about Gulf War Syndrome will trickle in.



Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA
530 898 5321
fax 530 898 5901
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Received on Thu Jul 30 22:50:06 2009

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