Skip to comments.Report Puts Hidden War Costs at $1.6T (Dems Grasp At Straws on Way down)
Posted on 11/13/2007 7:31:30 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
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.
Future economic costs would be even greater. The report estimated that both wars would cost $3.5 trillion between 2003 and 2017. Under that scenario, it would cost a family of four $46,400, the report said.
The report, from the committee's Democratic majority, was not vetted with Republican members. Democratic leaders in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seized on the report to criticize Bush's war strategy. The White House countered that the report was politically motivated.
"This report was put out by Democrats on Capitol Hill. This committee is known for being partisan and political. They did not consult or cooperate with the Republicans on the committee. And so I think it is an attempt to muddy the waters on what has been some positive developments being reported out of Iraq," said White House press secretary Dana Perino. "I haven't seen the report, but it's obvious the motivations behind it."
The report comes as the House and Senate planned to vote this week on another effort by Democrats to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq as a condition for providing another $50 billion for the war.
Reid said the report "is another reminder of how President Bush's stubborn refusal to change course in Iraq and congressional Republicans' willingness to rubber stamp his failed strategy has real consequences at home for all Americans."
Perino, while acknowledging the dangers in Iraq, defended Bush's stance.
"Obviously it remains a dangerous situation in Iraq. But the reduction in violence, the increased economic capacity of the country, as well as, hopefully, some continued political reconciliation that is moving from the bottom up, is a positive trend and one that we well, it's positive and we hope it is a trend that will take hold," Perino said.
Israel Klein, spokesman for the Joint Economic Committee, took issue with the White House's characterization of the panel's report.
"Instead of dealing with the substance of this report, the White House is once again trying to deflect attention away from the blistering costs of this war in Iraq," Klein said. "This report uses the nonpartisan CBO (Congressional Budget Office) budget estimates and was prepared by the JEC's professional economists using the same process this committee has always used, regardless of which party is in the majority."
However, the committee's top-ranking Republican members Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Jim Saxton of New Jersey called on the Democratic leadership to "withdraw this defective report." A joint statement from the two Republican lawmakers said the report is a "thinly veiled exercise in political hyperbole masquerading as academic research."
White House Budget Director Jim Nussle accused Democrats of "trying to distort reality for political gain."
Oil prices have surged since the start of the war, from about $37 a barrel to well over $90 a barrel in recent weeks, the report said. "Consistent disruptions from the war have affected oil prices," although the Iraq war is not responsible for all of the increase in oil prices, the report said.
Still, the report estimated that high oil prices have hit U.S. consumers in the pocket, transferring "approximately $124 billion from U.S. oil consumers to foreign (oil) producers" from 2003 to 2008, the report said.
High oil prices can slow overall economic growth if that chills spending and investment by consumers and businesses. At the same time, high oil prices can spread inflation throughout the economy if companies decide to boost the prices of many other goods and services.
Meanwhile, "the sum of interest paid on Iraq-related debt from 2003 to 2017 will total over $550 billion," the report said. The government has to make interest payments on the money it borrows to finance the national debt, which recently hit $9 trillion for the first time.
The report was obtained by The Associated Press before its release. An earlier draft of the report, which also had been obtained by The AP, had put the economic cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars slightly lower, at $1.5 trillion.
"What this report makes crystal clear," said Joint Economic Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., "is that the cost to our country in lives lost and dollars spent is tragically unacceptable." Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the panel's vice chair, said of the Iraq war: "By every measure, this war has cost Americans far too much."
Did they need a check? I can write one for $10K right now so my family is paying it's fair share. *ROLLEYES*
This war hasn't cost me one d@mn dime. How about you?
What would be the cost if terrorist took out New York, LA or Chicago? What would be the cost if they disrupted 30% of the world oil supply. Dems put that in your bong and smoke it!
Well, the Dems do have a point, however I’d suggest applying the same cost analysis to their proposed spending programs and see how theirs’ fairs.
Even if true, it’s still a bargain at twice the price. What price can be put on a nation’s security and well being? How much will it cost us when we let down our guard and are attacked again? What was the cost to the nation from 911, both to the private economy and in terms of government expenditures?
“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.”
Why not include the slew of Hollywood anti-war box office bombs and their own silly anti-Bush ad campaigns?
“Why not include the slew of Hollywood anti-war box office bombs and their own silly anti-Bush ad campaigns?”
LOL but you know its true they did factor that stuff in...
You wanna irritate a liberal just tell them the bargain we will get for all the Iraqi oil they will give us to pay the bill...... Oil we would have never gotten from Saddam....
Exactly, they whine about the costs of the war, then propose more spending....WTHeck?
These guys are all over the map, if the money is the problem reduce spending, if the outcome is a problem try defeat and see what it costs to buy oil from Islamofascists.
One of Obl’s complaints was that “We are selling the oil to cheaply”....
And these are the same folks who proposed an increase in the Federal Gas tax, and then they complain about the price of oil?
You really think the war hasn’t cost you a dime? That’s delusional.
War does cost money. And while I have no idea in the world whether this estimate of the cost is right, you can be absolutely sure it’s going to cost a WHOLE lot more than any politician is willing to tell you — although they also most certainly have no idea in the world how much it WILL cost.
Headline? “1,600 bills laden with pork averaging one billion dollars each, five-year total. ‘About typical,’ says Capital Hill.”
Not a thing, just ask your pal Sean Penn.
The cost of LBJ’s Great Society (read “welfare) is about 11 trillion $ since 1964 and still on the increase. Are the Dimocratz trying to scuttle that? If so, why not. At least there is a payout for the $ invested in Iraq.
“What did Iraq have to do with 911?”
You seem to have been infected with the wrongheaded notion that the war on terror was simply a war of revenge for 911, as if venegence is a national security imperative. The war on terror is about ending the culture of chaos and death in the Middle East that feeds terrorism, and Saddam’s regime was part of the nerve center of that culture of tyranny in which terrorism thrives. That of course includes Saddam’s support for terrorism which was considerable.
Even if you erroneously believe Al Qaeda had no relationship or presence in Iraq prior to our invasion, I will show below that in fact it did, Al Qaeda is there now. We have drawn them out of their rat holes and into an open fight in Iraq where we’ve badly mauled them and our defeating them. And we did so on terrain far less familiar to Al Qaeda than was Afghanistan, and far less forbidding than Afghanistan’s mountains and winters that defeated the Brits and the USSR. Thus our entry into Iraq had a major unforseen payoff for the US.
That will have HUGE ramifications for Al Qaeda’s future if they lose the war in Iraq, which they are. And Iraqi having suffered under Al Qaeda is becoming a bulwark against extremism and Al Qaeda’s cancer in the heart of the Middle East. How is ANY of this a bad thing even if it was an unintended consequence of our liberation of Iraq? These have MAJOR benefits to the US in the overall war on terror.
But beyond that, Saddam did have a relationship with Al Qaeda as his own intelligence files are showing. I will ping Freeper JVeritas on this who has done yeoman’s work in helping to translate Saddam’s documents that show he worked with Al Qaeda, even if not directly on 911. He can provide you with dozens of things he’s written on Saddam’s intelligence files having examined them directly and translating them from Arabic.
Also, take a look at another Freeper’s postings who has collected a wide array of sourcing showing Saddam and Al Qaeda worked together, RaceBannon. Go to this link and scroll past the main article to read the very extensive listing of articles demonstrating Saddam’s connections to Al Qaeda: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1335971/posts
I’d also refer you to the book “The Connection: How Saddam’s Relationship with Al Qaeda Endangered America” by Stephen Hayes, published by Harper Collins, not exactly some right wing publisher. Even if you dismiss half the evidence Hayes presents, it’s a compelling picture of an evolving relationship between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda, based on the “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” ethic of the Middle East.
Sandy, this whole thing is not just a revenge retaliation for 9/11. We're in a big, long term war against Islamo-Facism. The religion/cult/political-system that is Islam is a threat to the entire western world, just like it has been for the last 1400 years.
We went into Iraq because we believed that, if we did not, it would be a credible threat to the US and to the world oil supply. Saddam, and now Iran, would be holding a knife to the worlds throat right now if we didn't go in there and stop them by force. You can't just be asking "what did they do?", you have to be asking "what would they PROBABLY do if we did nothing?". It's not a choice of whether we want to deal with this problem or not, it's a question of whether we want to go in and deal with it now, or wait until it becomes either impossible or five time more costly. This whole war is about doing what has to be done, whether we particularly like it or not, because doing nothing would be worse.
What is it worth to have Libya renounce and relinquish its nuclear program? What is it worth to depose and execute one of the world’s worst tyrants bent on building all types of WMDs? What is it worth to help begin nudging the Islamic world toward the 21st century?
That’s almost as much as Hillary has offered to pander away in her first weeks in office!!!
“Hi. Im curious. What did Iraq have to do with 911?”
OK... I know you have only been on FR for 4 days, but...
Let this sink in:
Iraq may, or may not have had anything to do with 9/11, but 9/11 has EVERYTHING to do with why we had to invade Iraq...
Doing the job the U.N. refused to do, mostly because it’s leadership,(And that of FRANCE), were depending on Saddam’s bribe money to pay for thier high lifestyles...