Monday, January 09, 2006

That's a two with twelve zeroes

Cost of Iraq war could top $2 trillion: study

Again, that's $2,000,000,000,000.

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.

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. ...

Before the invasion, then-White House budget director Mitch Daniels predicted Iraq would be "an affordable endeavor" and rejected an estimate by then-White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey of total Iraq war costs at $100 billion to $200 billion as "very, very high."

Hmm... is this paragraph the "liberal media bias" at work?

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.

Well, if you quote liberal economists, I guess that makes you a liberal media source. (At least according to this study, right?) Look out, Kos - here comes Reuters!

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.

Some have said that the rise in oil prices is solely attributable to Iraq, and that is ignorant poppycock. Oil prices have gone up for several reasons. Demand is increasing, production is about maxxed out, it was an overdue correction, hurricanes hit the Gulf of Mexico, etc. But there's no doubt that the situation in Iraq has contributed to supply and price volatility. Stiglitz's 20% sounds about right to me.

Two Trillion Dollars might seem like a daunting number to get one's head around. I am reminded of the old saw (attributable to a former Illinois Senator, I believe): a million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Unforeseen costs include recruiting to replenish a military drained by multiple tours of duty, slower long-term U.S. economic growth and health-care bills for treating long-term mental illness suffered by war veterans.

They said about 30 percent of U.S. troops had developed mental-health problems within three to four months of returning from Iraq as of July 2005, citing Army statistics.

It's two thousand thousand million. And a bunch of war-addled vets, not to mention the dead ones. Sure it was worth it?

If only...


Blogger Jeff said...

Body armor that could have saved the lives of 80% of those who died with torso injuries: about $1,000 each.

A liberal economist's estimate of the cost of the Iraq war: over $2 trillion.

Freeing Iraqi Shiites to cozy up with Iran and impose a watered down Sharia on their homeland: priceless.

7:22 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

I wonder how good a contract the UAW would have gotten from GM if they had used Stiglitz and Blimes future payments formulation as a basis for GM's costs.

As for interesting Reuters stories today I nominate this one . (Is it a coincidince that it was linked though excite?)

9:49 AM  

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