The New York Times reports that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has concluded in an analysis released on August 5, 2008, the soaring price of oil will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of $79 billion by end of this year. The unspent windfall, which covers surpluses from oil sales from 2005 through 2008.
Over all, the report from the GAO estimates, Iraqi oil revenue from 2005 through the end of this year will amount to at least $156 billion. And in sick financial twist, large amounts of the surplus money is sitting in an American bank in New York — nearly $10 billion at the end of 2007, with more expected this year.
The report was requested by two senior senators, Carl Levin (D-MI) and John W. Warner (R-VA), and on Tuesday they were quick to express strong dissatisfaction over the contrast between American taxpayer spending on reconstruction and the weak record of spending by Iraq itself, in spite of the colossal surpluses. Sen. Levin is quoted as saying, "We should not be paying for Iraqi projects while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank, including outrageous profits from $4-a-gallon gas prices in the U.S. We should require that U.S. taxpayers be reimbursed for the cost of large projects."
The senators pointed out in a statement that in 2007, for example, Iraq actually spent only 28 percent of its $12 billion dollar reconstruction budget according to the accountability office – and even that number could overstate the success rate in most of Iraq, since $2 billion of the spending took place in relatively peaceful confines of the northern Kurdish region.
In response to this report, Deputy Treasury Secretary Andy Baukol agreed with the figures while also stressing “Iraq’s commitment to use its growing revenues.” The remark may sound a bit farcical, since the US is poised to post its biggest budget deficit EVER! To make matters worse, 90 percent of Iraqi’s revenues are from oil, the surging price of which has pushed gasoline prices north of $4 per gallon and has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy.
In 2003, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the House Appropriations Committee, "We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
Read the entire New York Times article on the Iraqi surplus here and here.
Read the entire CNN.com article on the Iraqi surplus here.
plez sez: ONE MORE REASON to IMPEACH George W. Bush and Dick Cheney!
on top of their lies, a new Ron Suskind book alleges that the bush administration ordered the CIA to forge documents from iraqi intelligence to saddam hussein while making case for war in 2003), the iraqi government is housing BILLIONS in oil revenue surpluses in american banks (drawing MILLIONS in interest) while our economy has been driven to the brink of disaster (the eighth american bank this year failed last week in florida).
as if the lies and weak economy weren't enough, the US is spending BILLIONS of dollars rebuilding a country that is literally sitting on BILLIONS of dollars. there is no plan for repayment, no plan for restitution to the american taxpayer who has shouldered the burden of the war in iraq as well as the rebuilding effort. the oil companies are lining their pockets, thanks to the no-bid contracts they were awarded last month in iraq.
after it is all said and done... the american people, well, the poor and middle-class american people are being screwed (AGAIN!) by the bush administration. is anyone surprised?!?