Sometimes I feel like I really must be dreaming, because this crap is unreal:
Iraq is not spending much of its own money, despite soaring oil revenues that are pushing the country toward a massive budget surplus, U.S. auditors told Congress on Tuesday.
The expected surplus comes as the U.S. continues to invest billions of dollars in rebuilding Iraq and faces a financial squeeze domestically because of record oil prices.
“The Iraqis have a budget surplus,” said U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. “We have a huge budget deficit. … One of the questions is who should be paying.”
Um, hello there? Yeah, hi. I don’t think that’s even a question, really, unless you meant a rhetorical one. Fortunately for us, my Senator Pat Leahy had a quick solution:
“They ought to be able to use some of their oil to pay for their own costs and not keep sending the bill to the United States,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Weren’t we promised that the Iraq War would “pay for itself” from oil revenues?
The Government Accountability Office estimates that the U.S. has designated $6 billion to rebuild Iraq’s energy sector and $300 million to develop Iraq’s government ministries. But GAO contends that the U.S. does not have a strategic plan on how to accomplish either goal.
Last week, Sens. Carl Levin, a Democrat, and John Warner, a Republican, asked GAO to investigate what Iraq is doing with its oil revenue. The senators estimated that Iraq will realize “at least $100 billion in oil revenues in 2007 and 2008.”
But WAIT! There’s more:
Later in the same hearing, Walker confirmed that a “significant” amount of what the U.S. spends on Iraqi contracts is being diverted to Sunni and Shiite militias.
Just so I have this all clear: The cost of the Iraq War is fast approaching $1 TRILLION, Iraq will recoup an estimated $100 billion in 2007/2008, and a bunch of our TAX dollars are going to unregulated Iraqi militias. This is not to mention the $800 million that went missing from pallets–enough money that you can see it from outer space if you piled it up.
This is why they call it the General Accounting Office. They don’t get into specifics.
Meanwhile, back at home, the IRS sent out notices that cost at least $40 million (and that’s the most conservative estimate I could find) just to inform people that they’re getting a “stimulus” check.
Can I invest that $600 in an Iraqi oil company? With no outgoing expenses on their part, and record returns, that seems like the prudent investment to me.