The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.
Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.
“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives,” the report says. “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.”
“Historically, the bill for these costs has come due many decades later,” the report says, noting that the peak disbursement of disability payments for America’s warriors in the last century came decades after the conflicts ended. “Payments to Vietnam and first Gulf War veterans are still climbing.”
Spending borrowed money to pay for the wars has also made them more expensive, the study noted. The conflicts have added $2 trillion to America’s debt, representing roughly 20 percent of the debt incurred between 2001 and 2012.
Stephen Friedman, a senior White House official, left government in 2002 after irking his colleagues by publicly estimating that the Iraq war could end up costing up to $200 billion
quote:Seems to be an obvious question doesn't it? How much would we spend recovering from constant terrorist attacks? It's a hypothetical, but so are the "costs" of this "study".
I'd like to see Harvard tell us how much 9/11 cost us if they used the same Mickey Mouse bookkeeping methods.
quote:Lets! I'd like to see the exercise run on the (on going) five years of trillion-dollar stimulus accounting for the accrued interest on debt. It would make the "wars" look very, very cheap.
Let's do the same for some other policies recently enacted
Seems to be an obvious question doesn't it? How much would we spend recovering from constant terrorist attacks? It's a hypothetical, but so are the "costs" of this "study". Incidentally, the "results" of this study do not jive with the last 12 years of budgetary appropriations, which are two orders of magnitude lower. I smell hackery.
Incidentally, the "results" of this study do not jive with the last 12 years of budgetary appropriations, which are two orders of magnitude lower.
quote:Yes I realize that... But that would have us spending MORE per year for treating war injuries than we have spent annually for the last 10 years while the war has been going on.
That's because this estimate is long-term, not up until now.