"Yes, a trillion dollars is a significant amount of money, even on a scale as large as the American economy. Had we avoided the stupid waste of $2 trillion or $3 trillion on the war, we could have paid for a long list of social goods that would have improved the lives of the American people, enhanced their productivity and secured their future. To name only a few of many better choices, we could have moved rapidly toward alternative energy sources and reduced our dependence on foreign sources of oil for about $500 billion, achieved universal literacy in the United States for about $5 billion, rebuilt the Gulf Coast damaged by Hurricane Katrina for about $200 billion, ended hunger and all the diseases caused by poverty for another $200 billion—and still have a substantial sum remaining to build new schools, roads, bridges, railways and other badly needed infrastructure.
The senators who now claim that we cannot afford to spend a trillion dollars to make long overdue changes in health care know exactly what that amount can buy. They know because they have spent it, year after year, on military misadventures and subsidies to big banks and corporations, without stinting or whining. Why can we always afford those trillion-dollar boondoggles, but never decent health care for all Americans?"
Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer.
The sad fact is that the same sort of BS permeates Canadian political activity, with similar non-results and missed opportunities.