Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kremer vs. Kremer vs. Truth

Trust me, you can't afford Rob Kremer's brand of "fiscal conservatism."

Would you buy a used car from this guy?

One of Rob Kremer's day jobs is that of political fundraiser for Oregon's con- Right. In mid-February of last year he founded the "Con - Majority Project" PAC. He writes the following there:
(What? Me worry about facts?)

Rob Kremer is Founder and President of the Oregon Education Coalition, which has been active in the school policy debate since 1998. In the 1999 Legislative Session, Rob led the effort to pass Oregon’s charter school law. Since then, he has directly involved [sic] in helping start more than three dozen charter schools, including the four Arthur Academy Charter Schools, of which he is co-founder.

Indeed, rarely is the question asked, "Is our right wingnuts proofreading?" Him speak pretty some day.*

Rob also writes a blog where the front page shines insight into his paranoia regarding / obsession with "socialism." From the anti-Socialist himself:

Portland, Oregon is occupied territory. It was invaded years ago by a non-native species of political animal from back east who took over our political and cultural institutions in order to try out their utopian socialist dreams on our great state. This blog will chronicle the insurgency that is trying to free Oregon from the occupiers' grip by shining a bright light on their most egregious schemes.

It sounds scary, but to read his blog, it's mostly funny (pages)... and a little bit sad.

And completing his trifectic strangle-hold on Socialism, Rob Kremer has his own Hannity & Colmesesque radio show on KXL, Kremer & Abrams. (And not that Marc Abrams is anything like that soggy milquetoast Alan Colmes used to be!) Today, former US Senate candidate Steve Novick was sitting in for Abrams (who was visiting his fiancé in California) so i tuned in for a bit.

The bones of 4228 US service personnel to pick...

In an old twist on tired attempts to justify George W. Bush's war crime, Kremer (a self described fiscal conservative) threw out some pretty outlandish numbers in order to assert that despite the money pit of a fiasco which is the Iraq debacle, it still pencils out to be cheaper than the pre-invasion monitoring protocols carried out against the Saddam regime since George H. W. Bush suckered the Butcher from Baghdad into invading Kuwait back in 1990 and the Great Coalition kicked the Iraqis back out the following year.

According to Kremer, a decade of simply monitoring Iraq as we had been doing (successfully as it turned out) would have cost us $700 Billion. Yes, this is a huge exaggeration. Nevertheless, Mr. Kremer, the champion of education who demonstrates questionable verbal skills (see above) also fails at math.

The Dick Cheney administration (a subsidary of Halliburton) had already conned a feckless Congress into authorizing a half trillion dollars by the 5th anniversary of Shock and Awe. With a present "burn rate" of $10-14 Billion a month, the direct costs to the US taxpayers will hit one Trillion dollars by the end of this year.

In case you need help with the arithmetic, Rob, that's $300 Billion more than your fiscally conservative solution. Even for Republican fat cats, that's an an Obama sized chunk of change.

As i mentioned before, Rob Kremer exaggerates the cost of containment when it came to Saddam, the paper lion. As near as i can tell, he derives his fanciful financial figure from a February 2006 study done by Steven J. Davis, et. al. The authors admit that the actual annual "cost of containment" had been $14.5 Billion per year. Based upon a series of dire assumptions (including another successful terrorist attack inside the US) they calculated that the cost of mere monitoring (along with the occasional air strike) might range from $350-700 Billion.

"We model the possibility that an effective containment policy might require the mounting of costly threats and might lead to a limited war or a full-scale regime-changing war against Iraq at a later date. We also consider the possibility that the survival of a hostile Iraqi regime raises the probability of a major terrorist attack on the United States."

In other words, they added to the real cost of containment the probability that the US would invade Iraq regardless (evidently adopting the Donald Rumsfeld Invasion Lite™ numbers), and they added in a doomsday scenario to boot. Naturally, Kremer only quoted the upper end figure. (By the way, higher end estimates for the total cost of the Iraq war exceed $3 Trillion. ("The government expects to be spending $59 billion a year to compensate injured warriors in 25 years." - HuffPo, May 11, 2008. More...)

What's more, the authors of the $700 Billion containment theory published a follow up in March, 2008. In it, they revise their numbers and refute Rob Kremer:

"The Iraq intervention has proved to be much costlier for the United States than our baseline estimate for the cost of containment (roughly 300 billon 2003 dollars) and at least as costly as the most pessimistic containment scenario we considered..." [More: pdf]

Perhaps these scholars weren't even the source for Kremer's right wing talking point. (But i prefer not to think that he just pulled the $700 figure out of his imagination.) In the end his math, his logic (and of course, his politics) fail.

Near the end of the show Kremer claimed that person for person, public transit is costlier than private means of transportation. I can't wait to learn how he's cooking up these numbers. Mmmmm... Hot pot of Republican bullshit, comin' right up!

*[Disclaimer: Even though i am not paid to publish this blog, i accept any and all pot/kettle accusations for the multitude of typos and out right spelling errors in my own writing. In my defense, i believe i am experiencing adult onset dyslexia.]


Anonymous said...

The entire debacle will wind up costing over $3 trillion dollars.

Thom said...

Yes, see link above.

Harry said...

War is not the answer. You prove this with your sterile numbers. What about the human cost?

Thom said...

Rob Kremer confirms he was alluding to (the now discredited) Chicago study. He also takes me to task for not listening very well. I still take him to task for lousy math and silly fright wing politics.

"you didn't listen very carefully" R. Kremer