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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Monday, January 09, 2006

Iraq War to cost $2 Trillion

This article appeared briefly off the Reuters Wire.

The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, far above the White House's pre-war projections, when long-term costs such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded U.S. soldiers are included, a study said on Monday.... Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes included in their study disability payments for the 16,000 wounded U.S. soldiers, about 20 percent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries. They said U.S. taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after U.S. troops withdraw.

This struck me as an interesting fact since I recalled that we currently spend some $50 billion a year on current veterans. A lot - except that the numbers include hundreds of thousands who were wounded in battle in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Hmm... wait you have to read on:

Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, and Bilmes based their projections partly on past wars and included the economic cost of higher oil prices, a bigger U.S. budget deficit and greater global insecurity caused by the Iraq war.

They said a portion of the rise in oil prices -- about 20 percent of the $25 a barrel gain in oil prices since the war began -- could be attributed directly to the conflict and that this had already cost the United States about $25 billion. "Americans are, in a sense, poorer by that amount," they said, describing that estimate as conservative.

This article reminds me of Paul Krugman - provable, but totally dishonest. You could also argue that Iraq saved use $100 trillion because 1) we prevented a nuclear attack from Saddam and terrorists, kept the price of Oil from going to $200 per barrel because Saddam could not take over Saudi/Kuwait. If democracy spreads in the middle east that return on asset could reach more than a quadrillion.

All articles like this do is present another way to say you oppose the war and hate Bush. Now people will cite Iraq - the $2 trillion war. How ridiculous. If your going to cite the cost of an asset you need to cite the return on that asset also.

I'll bet the Interstate Highway system is nearing $100 trillion in costs considering all the repairs and lost farm land and lost real estate the highways have taken up. Also consider the lost productivity wasted from all the workers who perished while building the highway system and would have done something different but for the system. The Interstate Highway system should have never been built. What a waste.