Thursday, March 06, 2008

Comparing the cost of the war

by expatbrian

Most of us cannot really comprehend amounts in the billions, let alone trillions of dollars. There is no frame of reference. But a new article from the NYT that I found at Veterans for Common Sense may help.

On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, looked at the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Estimates for the total cost run between 2-3 trillion dollars. Thats 2-3 thousand thousand thousand thousand dollars.
Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”
...the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers.

That's each day people, not each week, month or year!
The Bush administration has tried its best to conceal the horrendous costs of the war. It has bypassed the normal budgetary process, financing the war almost entirely through “emergency” appropriations that get far less scrutiny.
Mr. Hormats told the committee:
“Normally, when America goes to war, nonessential spending programs are reduced to make room in the budget for the higher costs of the war. Individual programs that benefit specific constituencies are sacrificed for the common good ... And taxes have never been cut during a major American war. For example, President Eisenhower adamantly resisted pressure from Senate Republicans for a tax cut during the Korean War.”

Said Mr. Stiglitz: “Because the administration actually cut taxes as we went to war, when we were already running huge deficits, this war has, effectively, been entirely financed by deficits. The national debt has increased by some $2.5 trillion since the beginning of the war, and of this, almost $1 trillion is due directly to the war itself ... By 2017, we estimate that the national debt will have increased, just because of the war, by some $2 trillion.”
And we even have to argue about a national health care program? The money is there, for all of the rebuilding and social initiatives we need. But right now, we are letting a madman spend it, unchecked and unaccounted for, by the billions each and every day. Just who is really at fault here, people?

cross posted at World Gone Mad

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly hope the people will stop the madness come November, but my hopes aren't too high. In the meantime, I'm working toward self sufficiency and further cost reductions so I can stay afloat if things get worse.

9:24:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

But, but spending that money to the benefit of Americans would be like - almost SOCIALISM!!!

I didn't like Ike when he was president, but looking back, I think he was the last Republican with a shred of decency and perhaps sanity.

9:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not give the money back to the people who earned it instead of spending it on ANYTHING?

3:12:00 PM  

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