Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Best Reasonable Idea Ever

I'm really happy to see the growing number of Congressional Democrats, many of them quite powerful, who want the Afghan War to be paid for in the budget. The big focus of this is, of course, Afghanistan. But it's good in lots of other ways.

One thing I love about the whole effort is how it presses the fact that the health care legislation in Congress actually reduces the deficit. This is the sort of thing that the CBO has affirmed and wonks are going to know and newspapers will have in utterly forgettable ways and ordinary people are not going to realize. But when it comes up in the surprising way that it does here -- "We had to make sure health care reform wouldn't increase the deficit, so the Afghan War shouldn't either" -- it's a neat new way to get the message across.

I have no idea how this will all turn out, because it's pretty novel, but if David Obey's bill somehow succeeds and we end up generating the norm that wars must be paid for, that's going to be a truly world-historical development. A future in which War or Car doesn't really work as a blog idea because we don't blow enough money to coat NH and VT in gold leaf without seriously weighing the tradeoffs is a future I want to live in.

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