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Can Jeff Sachs Get Us Out of Afghanistan?

Could an Ivy League economist end the war in Afghanistan?

Maybe, if that economist is Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs has "taken to the hustings" against President Obama's plans for cuts in domestic spending.

Sachs' alternative: do what the public wants. Raise taxes on corporations and the rich, cut military spending, get out of Afghanistan, cut excess profits from the insurance industry and healthcare with a public option.

Let's make a list of people of national prominence who are saying these things.

Jeff Sachs.

Anyone else?

There are certainly lots of folks trying to push back against the President's domestic austerity plans. And there are certainly lots of folks trying to push back against the endless war in Afghanistan.

But you don't see any prominent political force in the media putting this together as a package: tax the corporations, cut the military, end the war, control health care costs with a public option. In particular, other prominent folks who are talking about stopping cuts to domestic spending are not talking about ending the war in Afghanistan.

If we lived in Western Europe, we'd probably have a political party that would be pushing this agenda forward as a package.

Here in the U.S., we have the 80 member Congressional Progressive Caucus. They have put forward a "People's Budget," which would put America back to work, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and eliminate the deficit.

But most Americans probably aren't aware that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has put forward an alternative to domestic austerity that includes ending the wars, because the "lamestream" national media censors the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Does that mean no-one's interested? A piece by Sachs about the People's Budget on Huffington Post has been wildly popular.

If we want to force these proposals into the national debate against the determined opposition of the "lamestream" media to exclude them, we're going to need a big crowbar.

That's why Jeff Sachs should consider challenging Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. Even the "lamestream" media cannot ignore the budget proposals put forward by a credible candidate for President. You think if the White House faced such a primary it would affect their decision about responding to the demand for a substantial drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan this year? You betcha.

Here is Sachs' "stump speech" (his rap starts at about 13:40.) Watch this video, and ask yourself: would I vote for this guy? Would I send his campaign $25? Would I make phone calls for his campaign in Iowa?

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Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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