[James Heiser Research Associate of the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington D.C. and as a Media Analyst for the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia, “Partial Iraq Withdrawal Could Save $1.1 trillion” 9/4/09, http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/foreign-policy/1822]
The Army Times is reporting that a congressional study has once again discovered the obvious: pulling out of Iraq will save money. “A speedier withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan would shave $1.1 trillion off the budget in the next decade, a new congressional budget projection says.” The Army Times article declares, “That would be a sizeable cut in defense-related spending from 2010 through 2019, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates at $7.4 trillion.” The mind-boggling $7.4 trillion to be alloted for defense spending is based on continuing the status quo in Iraq, while the proposed savings would come not from pulling out of Iraq, but from cutting the presence of American soldiers to a level comparable to the number presently serving in South Korea. According to the Army Times: The $7.4 trillion price tag is based on the number of deployed troops remaining at about 210,000, but looks at two scenarios for reductions: A sharp reduction in troops over three years, resulting in $1.1 trillion in savings. Under this projection, the number of deployed troops falls to 160,000 in 2010; to 100,000 in 2011; to 35,000 in 2012 and to 30,000 from 2013 to 2019. A more gradual decline that shaves $700 billion off the $7.4 trillion defense spending estimate. It assumes 210,000 deployed troops in 2010; 190,000 in 2011; 150,000 in 2012; 100,000 in 2013 and 75,000 in 2014 and beyond. The timing of the report does raise certain questions. As discussions of deficit neutrality enter the healthcare debate, the possibility of cutting the defense budget by $1.1 trillion over 10 years may provide support for those favoring President Obama and the Democratic Congress pursuing the so-called “nuclear option” of passing healthcare legislation with a simple majority. As David Leonhardt, writing forThe New York Times, notes: “The main political problem with health reform is still the immediate cost of it. Covering the uninsured will require $1.2 trillion or so over 10 years, and Congress hasn’t been able to agree on $1.2 trillion of spending cuts and tax increases to keep the deficit from growing.” The close parallel between the amount needed to fund healthcare and the presumed budget cut provided by a speedy withdrawal from Iraq provides a balance that Washington is likely to pronounce “close enough” — juggling numbers to come up with the last $100 billion over 10 years ought to be easily accomplished through the usual budgetary sleight of hand. For a president who has promised to pull out of Iraq and “reform” healthcare, the pairing could not be more obvious.
Debt 1AC- Alternate Impact Senario
Debt leads to weak Yuan, Debt sell off, china water pollution, and kills competitiveness
Faiola and Goldfarb 08
[Anthony Faiola and Zachary A. Goldfarb; Washington Post Staff Writers, “China Tops Japan in U.S. Debt Holdings; Beijing Gains Sway Over U.S. Economy”, 11/19/08, Lexis]
The growing dependence on Chinese cash is granting Beijing extraordinary sway over the U.S. economy. Analysts say a decision by China to move out of U.S. government bonds, for economic or political reasons, could lead a herd of other investors to follow suit. That would drive up the cost of U.S. borrowing, jeopardizing Washington's ability to fund, among other things, a stimulus package to jump-start the economy. If China were to stop buying or, worse, start selling U.S. debt, it would also quickly raise interest rates on a variety of loans in the United States, analysts say. Additionally, the more China invests in U.S. debt, the harder it becomes for U.S. companies to sell their products overseas. That's because China's purchase of U.S. bonds makes the dollar stronger, particularly against the Chinese yuan, which has been kept artificially weak to boost Chinese exports. The relatively weak yuan remains one of the biggest obstacles to U.S. companies tapping the market in China, particularly lucrative now as Beijing embarks on $586 billion in infrastructure and other stimulus spending to keep its economy humming amid the global crisis. In the United States, Chinese influence is reflected in terms as basic as home mortgage rates. Since the U.S. government seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September, China, which maintains the world's largest cash reserves of roughly $1.9 trillion, has shed about $50 billion in the companies' debt and mortgage bonds, according to people who track the data. With China shying away from buying more, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have had to pay more to borrow and have gotten less for mortgage bonds, pushing up rates for people seeking home loans just as the U.S. government is trying to bring them down."This is a sign of the growing interdependence between the Chinese and U.S. economies, but also a sign of a relationship that is not healthy in the long term," said Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "There are inconsistent policies on both sides of the Pacific that are working against a more flexible Chinese exchange rate and the reduction of China's large trade surplus. This is a problem for the United States."In good times, U.S. companies tapped China as a bargain-basement manufacturing hub, helping lift hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. But China's torrid growth has also caused severe environmental damage from a rapid rise in pollution and industrial waste, even as it improved American lifestyles by putting cheaper televisions and microwave ovens within easier reach for consumers. In recent years, Chinese cash also became part of a massive surge in foreign capital to the United States that brought down interest rates and eased the credit terms that American financial institutions charged. Now, in bad times, China is effectively co-financing the $1 trillion annual U.S. deficit and massive government bailout of the financial system. It is doing so in part with money earned from exports to the United States, which last year imported five times as much as it exported to China. The surge in Chinese buying is part of a rush by panicked investors into U.S. Treasurys, an indication that lending to the U.S. government is still seen as among the safest investments in uncertain times.
"It is occurring in an environment where global investment prospects are less enticing," said Lawrence Goodman, head of emerging market strategy at Bank of America. "There is a movement for foreigners to seek safer haven investments like Treasurys versus more risk-oriented foreign investments."China's investment in U.S. Treasury bonds surged by $43.6 billion to $585 billion in September, pulling ahead of the Japan, which now holds $573.2 billion worth. Overall, analysts say China's holdings may be $800 billion or more. China is thought to be purchasing U.S. debt through third countries, purchases that are not immediately recorded by the Treasury as being held by China, analysts say.In contrast to Japan, one of the United States' closest allies, China is seen as less benevolent to U.S. interests.Many economists are concerned about U.S. reliance on China for funding. By buying Treasury bonds, which are denominated in dollars, China is able to keep the dollar strong compared with the yuan. As a result, Chinese exports are cheaper relative to U.S. exports.That is a friction point at a time when the United States needs manufacturing companies to be competitive in the global marketplace to combat the economic downturn. U.S. labor unions are already pushing the incoming Obama administration to urge the Chinese to take steps to strengthen the yuan, which could involve a broad sell-off by China of U.S. Treasury bonds. "This is an unhealthy relationship," said Brad W. Setser, geoeconomics fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "The U.S. relies too heavily on subsidized financing from a non-democratic government. And China is still a poor country that has in turn invested too much of its national savings in the United States. There remains an underlying financial vulnerability if China were to scale back its purchases. It could deliver a shock to the United States."
China’s water pollution will export this catastrophe to the rest of the world
Lorenz and Wagner 07 [Andreas Lorenz and Wieland Wagner, “THE DOWNSIDE OF THE BOOM: China's Poison for the Planet,” SPIEGEL ONLINE, February 01, 2007, pg. http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,461828,00.html]edlee
China has become a global environmental problem. Initially, it was only the economists who were shocked by how the country was changing the world with its cheap clothes, televisions and washing machines. But now climate researchers are concerned about another Chinese export -- the pollution it is spreading across the planet. The massive nation is already the world's second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases after the United States. And particularly in North America and Europe, awe over China's booming economy and its ability to produce cheap goods for the entire world is now often giving way to a critical question: Can the planet handle China's growing damage to the environment? China's economy is booming -- with an annual growth rate of over ten percent. But the more the country's population of 1.3 billion strives to raise itself out of poverty with a mostly antiquated industrial base, and the more cheap Chinese goods the world's consumers buy, the bigger the price will be that the world pays for China's economic miracle. A threat at home, a threat abroad The Chinese are no longer simply destroying their own environment.Just as trade is global these days, so too is the threat against nature. The connection isn't always apparent at first glance. For example, what does the spreading desert of Inner Mongolia -- a massive autonomous region in northern China -- have to do with the comfy cashmere sweaters that shoppers are snapping up for next to nothing in cities from Berlin to Boston? For years, Chinese herders in the region let millions of goats graze until the grass was gone, roots and all. Then the soil simply blew away and the desert began to expand at an alarming rate. Since the early 1980s, China's grasslands have shrunk each year by some 15,000 square kilometers -- an area the size of the US state of Connecticut. And now in the midst of a deadly drought, the sand dunes move ever closer to the small village Chaogetu Hure. Inch by inch, seemingly unstoppable, they claim everything in their path, as if the dunes purposely want to bury the government's expensive efforts to plant trees, build fences, corral goats and resettle local inhabitants. Abbot Lao Didarjie is being forced to watch the walls of the house opposite his Zhao Huasi temple slowly disappear under the sand. Out of fear for the house of worship he's raised alarm with six different authorities. "The temple was built by the 6th Dalai Lama in the 17th century," says the religious leader. "It should be saved for the coming generations." Only a few kilometers away, on the edge of Luanjingtan, farmer Xu Changqin inspects a few meager green stalks of wheat. The local peasants worked hard to plant their fields, but last May a sandstorm covered them over. "The grassland is getting smaller, the fertile grounds are disappearing," says Xu, explaining how growing numbers of people are moving away to seek more hospitable places to live. The fine sand from the farmer's homeland blows all the way to California and Europe. It's mixed in with ash and other dangerous particles from industry in China's Inner Mongolia region, which is home to countless factories, chemical works and power plants. Along the Huang (Yellow) River in the city of Shizuishan, in the Ningxia region adjacent to Inner Mongolia, the extent of the pollution becomes rather obvious. Swaths of gray-black cloud blot out the sun to make the perfect setting for a Hollywood film about the end of the world. Two power plants belch ash into an artificial lake separated from the nearby river only by a thin dam. The wind blows the ash upward to start it on its journey around the globe. Sand, smog and ash-filled skies But it's not just sand, smog and ash that China is spewing into the atmosphere. The country's factories and power plants already emit more sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) than Europe, even though the booming Chinese economy manages only a fraction of the per capita gross domestic product that the old industrialized nations do. Between 2000 and 2005, China's SO2 emissions grew to 26 million tons. In just a few years the country will surpass the United States to become the world's biggest carbon dioxide producer. China already accounts for more than 15 percent of total global CO2 emissions. Independent US energy expert James Brock can see the smog-filled sky from his office in Beijing. "Currently each Chinese person uses just one-fifth of the energy that an American does," he says. But when China reaches Western standards of living, each person in the country will use three times what they do now. Even done efficiently that will amount to five tons of coal each year. Presently, only very few Chinese can afford that standard of living. But what effect on the environment will there be if the Communist Party makes good on its propaganda to spread as much "modest prosperity" to as many citizens as possible by 2020? Can nature withstand the strain when the number of families with washing machines, driers, air conditioners and cars rises from 100 million to a half-billion? Chinese factories are already producing three times as many air conditioning units as they did five years ago. And although few people drive cars in China compared to industrialized countries, in Beijing alone the number of vehicles is growing by a thousand each day. In order to feed its appetite for energy, China is building coal-fired power plants as fast as it can. Every seven to ten days a new plant begins spewing smoke into the sky. The amount by which China increased its power production last year alone is greater than Britain's entire capacity. Coal heavily pollutes the air, but China's leaders see little alternative to a dirty resource that is available in ample quantities around the country. Some 69 percent of all Chinese power plants are run on coal. China used 2.1 billion tons of it in 2004 -- more than the United States, the European Union and Japan together. Even if the Chinese economy only continues to grow seven percent annually, its coal usage would double to 4 million tons within ten years. Slowly, politicians and scientists are recognizing the path of destruction caused by China's industrial revolution. Yet, communist China has a long tradition of abusing nature. Revolutionary leader Mao Zedong spoke of "dominating nature" and during the Great Leap Forward (1958-1959) he ordered the construction of numerous factories. In an attempt to overtake Britain as an industrial power, the Chinese were instructed to build mini blast furnaces across the entire land. The absurd project failed, but the environmental destruction is still visible. To heat the steel furnaces China chopped down an estimated ten percent of its forests. A poison-producing factory The country opened itself to the world in the late 1970s, its bizarre mixture of communism and capitalism has since produced growth rates that Western politicians can only dream of. But China was simultaneously turned into one massive, poison-producing factory. The country is home to 16 of the world's 20 dirtiest cities. The inhabitants of every third metropolis are forced to breathe polluted air, causing the deaths of an estimated 400,000 Chinese each year. Half of China's 696 cities and counties suffer from acid rain. Two-thirds of its major rivers and lakes are cesspools and more than 340 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. The Yangtze River, once China's proud artery of life, is biologically dead for long stretches. Many other rivers flow with blackened water and along their banks there are the notorious "cancer villages" where many people die early. It's now begun to dawn on Beijing's politicians what China's economy is doing to China's ecology. Experts like Pan Yue, the deputy minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), are already fearful that environmental pollution will destroy the impressive economic growth of recent years. SO2 emissions cause damages worth €50 billion each year and the World Bank estimates environmental pollution already shaves eight to 12 percent off of China's gross national product (GNP). "China has gone through an industrialization in the past 20 years that many developing countries needed 100 years to complete. That's why the country now has to deal with environmental problems that would also take 100 years to solve in many Western nations," says Pan. Dead fish lie in a section of the Songhua River in Jilin, northeast China's Jilin province. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has also distanced himself from the country's raping of the environment to promote "sustainable growth," which includes an ambitious nuclear program. At least 20 new nuclear power plants are to be built by 2020 -- but the communist leadership doesn't say where the radioactive waste will end up. Beijing also wants at least ten percent of the country's energy needs to be covered by renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro. Photovoltaic facilities have already been erected in thousands of villages and giant wind parks dot China's eastern coast. Beijing also actively participates in the international emissions trade and provides foreign environmental polluters with opportunities to buy their way out of their obligations by financing somewhat clean chemical plants. The Chinese government plans to spend around $125 billion on sewage treatment facilities and new water pipes over the next five years. But such impressive-sounding announcements, measured by the scope and speed of China's environmental destruction, fall far short of what's needed. And despite any good intentions, the Communist Party members make no secret that their most important goals remain those that will ensure their continuing power: raising the living standard of China's citizens and eliminating the massive gap between rich and poor, as well as East and West. Putting growth before the environment China's leaders are certainly pushing for tougher laws to allow for stricter punishments for criminal officials and unscrupulous factory managers. But the misery is partially caused by the country's authoritarian system, which neither allows for an independent judiciary nor democratic supervision. SEPA's 167,000 employees aren't empowered enough to clamp down on polluters in every single province, especially if there's an influential employer there. And often local officials simply consider impressive growth rates more important for their careers than a clean environment. Of 661 Chinese cities, 278 did not have a sewage treatment plant at the end of 2005. But wealthy polluters can often pay any fines incurred with petty cash. Many recently built power plants shouldn't actually even exist. Roughly half of them are illegal -- many simply on formal grounds, but others due to corrupt or negligent officials who ignore environmental rules. Instead of falling as they should, emissions in 17 provinces have risen. These grim facts aren't kept secret, as some government officials apparently still believe in spite of everything that they have the dramatic situation under control. SEPA official Li Xinmin claims it remains unproven that pollution from Chinese power plants reaches other countries. "That's a false, irresponsible argument," says Li. Climate expert Liu Deshun from Beijing's Tsinghua University seemingly has a reassuring statistic or sensible Communist Party decree for almost any pressing environmental problem. But he avoids the key question: How much is China contributing to global warming and what is the government doing to try to stop it? Liu wears a small green cap and an oversized pair of sunglasses. "We are a developing country," he says. "We aren't yet in the position to take on international obligations." Beijing has signed the Kyoto Protocol -- which aims to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide by 2012 -- but as a developing nation China is not obligated to make cuts. Still, the professor claims Beijing's leaders have made an important contribution to efforts to protect the environment: the country's strict population control policies have ensured that 300 million fewer people live on the planet and use its limited resources. A disaster in the making When a chemical plant exploded in the northeastern Jilin province in November 2005, the industrial city Harbin had to cut water supplies for four days to prevent its 9 million inhabitants from being poisoned. But that didn't keep the catastrophe from spreading, as a thick benzene film traveled from the Songhua River into the Amur River, where it slowly dissipated in Russia's Far East. Alexei Makinov, saw the disaster in the making. "It wasn't just a problem since the accident," says the 54-year-old Russian geologist and head of the hydrology lab of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Far East in Khabarovsk. "The river has been stinking since 1997." The scientist's desk is covered with tables and statistics and his cabinet with its glass door is crammed full of papers. All of it is environmental data on the Amur. But it's easy to see with the naked eye just how much damage the river has suffered. The Sungari -- as the Songhua River is known in Russia -- carries tons of poisonous sludge hundreds of kilometers downstream to the Amur. When fishers cut a hole in the river ice during the winter, a horrible odor is released. Makinov thinks the smell is from dying plant life and tells of residents complaining of infections, rashes and diarrhea. The ailing Amur River has become the most important patient of 65-year-old doctor Vladena Rybakova as the end of her career nears. "The river began to stink of phenol," she says. "And at first we thought it was a natural phenomenon." But soon Rybakova and her colleagues found the actual cause -- over the Chinese border. Whereas 65 million people live on the Chinese side of the Amur, there are only 4 million on the Russian side. Since the Chinese authorities offered the Russian scientists no information on what their factories were producing and what poisons they might be releasing into the waters, the Russians began investigating on their own in the early 1990s. After Rybakova fed lab rats fish from the river and then dissected them, she discovered that "their livers decomposed before you could start cutting." The road to Sikachi-Alyan leads past barracks and massive radar equipment. It is home to the ethnic Nanai minority, which has always lived from fishing. During Soviet times there was fishing collective here, but now the village of wooden houses has fallen into bitter poverty. These days no one will buy what the locals catch. "For the past 12 years, the fish have smelled like chemicals," says village leader Nina Druzhinina, a thin woman with a towering hairdo. "At first we thought it was Russian plants letting untreated water into the river. But now we know most of the filth comes from China." Damned by dams In order to secure their future, the Chinese also intend to dominate the Mekong River, which is known as the Lancang in China. In Yunnan province there are two major dams holding back the waters of Southeast Asia's longest river without regard for China's neighbors. Six further dams are planned. At the construction site of the Xiaowan Dam, an army of workers is transforming the once green gorges into a barren Martian landscape. Xiaowan will be one of the world's biggest hydroelectric plants -- almost as huge as the controversial Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. A few hundred kilometers further southward, the Mekong flows through fertile rice paddies and cornfields. Here and there, bamboo groves crowd the banks. But the lives of millions people, who depend on the river's natural rhythms, have been disrupted. The Chinese now have a dam in place and they flood the Mekong as they please -- when, for example, the water is too low and the Chinese need a big ship to enter the Thai river harbor of Chiang Saen. In Cambodia, where river fish are one of the most important sources of food, the size of the catch is shrinking -- especially in the important Tonle Sap lake and river system. But even down south in the Mekong Delta the river has become unpredictable, according to residents. Sometimes floods wash away houses and at other times there's not enough water for the rice paddies. Suthep Teowtrakul, district head of the small Thai town Chiang Khong, observes the river every day. He wears a yellow polo shirt sporting the words "I Love the King" and has four Buddha figures in his office. But neither his monarch nor the bodhisattva can help him counter the Chinese affects on the Mekong. "My motto is: 'Leave the river alone'," he says, while admitting that's unlikely to happen. "Because the Chinese think the Mekong belongs to them." Just like the fields they destroy or the air they pollute. Setting its own course to the detriment of others At a recent United Nations conference on climate change in Nairobi, the Chinese demanded that developing nations not be forced to make cuts in greenhouse gases. Only after pushing through this condition -- from which China has the most to gain -- did the Chinese delegates vote to work towards a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. China is a big country, a future superpower. Its leaders, accountable only to themselves, don't care for economic or environmental advice. They set their own path. But each year, each month, almost every week, China experiences some sort of major environmental catastrophe. The mess spreads across the land, in its waterways and the air. And far too often, the rest of the world gets sprinkled with some of it too.