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The economic costs of the Iraq War : an appraisal three years after the beginning of the conflict

Author: Linda Bilmes; Joseph E Stiglitz; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2006.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 12054.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Abstract: This paper attempts to provide a more complete reckoning of the costs of the Iraq War, using standard economic and accounting/ budgetary frameworks. As of December 30, 2005, total spending for combat and support operations in Iraq is $251bn, and the CBO's estimates put the projected total direct costs at around $500bn. These figures, however, greatly underestimate the War's true costs. We estimate a range  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Linda Bilmes; Joseph E Stiglitz; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 64130568
Notes: "February 2006."
Cover title.
Description: 1 online resource (36 pages).
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 12054.
Responsibility: Linda Bilmes, Joseph Stiglitz.

Abstract:

Abstract: This paper attempts to provide a more complete reckoning of the costs of the Iraq War, using standard economic and accounting/ budgetary frameworks. As of December 30, 2005, total spending for combat and support operations in Iraq is $251bn, and the CBO's estimates put the projected total direct costs at around $500bn. These figures, however, greatly underestimate the War's true costs. We estimate a range of present and future costs, by including expenditures not in the $500bn CBO projection, such as lifetime healthcare and disability payments to returning veterans, replenishment of military hardware, and increased recruitment costs. We then make adjustments to reflect the social costs of the resources deployed, (e.g. reserve pay is less than the opportunity wage and disability pay is less than forgone earnings). Finally, we estimate the effects of the war on the overall performance of the economy. Even taking a conservative approach and assuming all US troops return by 2010, we believe the true costs exceed a trillion dollars. Using the CBO's projection of maintaining troops in Iraq through 2015, the true costs may exceed $2 trillion. In either case, the cost is much larger than the administration's original estimate of $50-$60bn. The costs estimated do not include those borne by other countries, either directly (military expenditures) or indirectly (the increased price of oil). Most importantly, we have not included the costs to Iraq, either in terms of destruction of infrastructure or the loss of lives. These would all clearly raise the costs significantly.

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