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Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yesterday we saw the Demcratic members of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee claim the following.
The economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to total $1.6 trillion — roughly double the amount the White House has requested thus far, according to a new report by Democrats on Congress' Joint Economic Committee.

The report, released Tuesday, attempted to put a price tag on the two conflicts, including "hidden" costs such as interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars, lost investment, the expense of long-term health care for injured veterans and the cost of oil market disruptions.

The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said. The Bush administration has requested $804 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, the report stated.

For the Iraq war only, total economic costs were estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. That would cost a family of four $16,500, the report said.
If you believe them, that's 1.6 trillion over 6 years. Reaction? Outrage. $16,500 per family.

Yet every year, we put up with this and hardly a word is heard in protest:

Mandatory yearly entitlement spending is at 1.4 trillion dollars. Yearly. Mandatory. No review. No changes. Up 688% since 1962.

$12,000+ per household every single year and rising.

And not a word, not a whisper from the Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee about this time-bomb. Spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanstan will end. The increase in yearly entitlement programs is scheduled to not only continue but to increase. Which, do you suppose, the JEC ought to really be concerned with.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Aw, Bruce, you one upped me! I was only able to cut about half a trillion in ten minutes. You just cut 1.4.

Now, if we combined that, we would be able to pay for both wars AND have a .5 trillion dollar surplus.
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanstan will end.

The debt incurred for the wars will likely take a long time to be paid off (if it ever gets paid off). So the mere outlay of funds over the course of the "hot war" isn’t the only story there. Plus the wars will continue to cost us money even after we leave both countries. Those costs would include things like VA benefits (which I have no problem giving out), costs to replace equipment which is irreparable, etc. Plus I anticipate the U.S. spending a lot of money on foreign aid for Iraq for a significant period in the future (decades?).

Which, do you suppose, the JEC ought to really be concerned with.

Probably both.

Written By: Syloson of Samos
Anyway, it is sort of interesting how we are spending lots of money on both guns and butter. The situation seems to resemble that of the 1960s. What followed that was a period of stagflation. Is there some chance that we are headed back towards that outcome?
Written By: Syloson of Samos
The other day the Los Angeles Times ran this editorial:
On their side, the Republican front-runners seem to be implying that the U.S. should accept no limits, financial or military, in the battle to stop Islamist terror. But praising the sacrifice of U.S. troops is not the same thing as telling voters what sacrifices these policies will require of us. What percentage of gross national product should we devote to waging the battle they envision? And will they raise taxes or borrow money to pay for it?
This is fine as far as it goes, but I reacted to it in exactly the same way that you reacted to the Democrats on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. We can quibble over the magnitude of the threat, but jihadist terror is unquestionably a legitimate national security issue, and national security is the one function of the Federal government for which there is almost universal support. There is far less support for the various entitlement programs that the Democrats are proposing (ie, SCHIP expansion to cover the middle class).

If the Times wants to get huffy and demand that Republicans explain how they intend to pay to defend the nation that is fine with me, but I would also like to see a comparable gauntlet thrown down in front of Democrats on entitlement spending, since the Democratic Presidential candidates are currently competing with one another to offer the biggest national healthcare entitlement.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
" including "hidden" costs such as interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars..."

And that probably doesn’t even include the cost of all those hearings held by Conyers, etc., or overtime for police controlling antiwar demonstrations, or the cost of extra press conferences made necessary by the war.

It is a good thing these fiscally responsible legislators have made sure we have paid off our war debts from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, or we might be in real trouble.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Our debt level as percentage of GDP is not high. Our economy has been growing faster than spending (which is why we are slowly heading toward balance.)

Yes, there is going to be a big bill coming for the entitlement programs, and that should be addressed, but it will have to be some mix of cuts, increase in retirement, private accounts, etc.

But beyond that, I’d like to see more ideas to stimulate growth as that is one of the best ways to increase revenue without hurting anyone.

I’d say go for a flat tax, but it’ll never sell despite many countries being very successful with it.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I wrote more on this subject here
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://

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