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OCTOBER 7, 2003
5:38 PM
CONTACT:  U.S. Representative Obey
Dave Helfert (202) 225-3481/225-4223
Obey: $20.3 Billion for Iraq is a Long Way from the Marshall Plan
WASHINGTON - October 7 - House Appropriations Ranking Member David Obey (WI) today released an analysis that debunks comparisons between the Bush Administration's request for $20.3 billion for the "Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Iraq."

"President Bush, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon briefings have all been using the same talking points to try to make the case that the supplemental request for $20.3 billion to build Iraq is this generation's Marshall Plan," said Obey. "The fact is there are very few similarities between the two.

People remember the Marshall Plan as being generous, but it was an absolute piker compared to the President's Iraq proposal. On a per capita basis, the Iraq proposal provides about 10 times as much assistance as the Marshall Plan-even after accounting for inflation.

The Marshall Plan helped correct global financial imbalances, while this plan clearly makes them worse. The world's largest debtor nation is now the United States, and that debt will get a good deal bigger before this is over.

This plan has no precedent in past efforts to provide humanitarian aid to impoverished countries. If this proposal is adopted, Iraq will be getting nearly 30% of all the humanitarian aid in the world, even though it has substantially less than 1% of the world's poorest people. Iraqis, on average, will be getting about 50 times as much as people in other poor countries. The Marshall Plan provided an annual assistance level per capita of about $86. The Bush Administration's plan would provide approximately $872 per person for the entire population of Iraq. The U.S. foreign debt was expected to exceed $2.7 trillion this year and that the average American would be shouldering more foreign debt than the average Iraqi.

There's another striking difference between the two plans," Obey said. "The Marshall Plan was implemented under President Harry Truman, who always paid his bills. President Bush borrows the money from our children and grandchildren, because this $20 billion gets piled on to the national debt."


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