Tuesday, March 04, 2008

These are a few of the costs of war

What's a few hundred billion here and there? Can't buy much with a dollar these days anyway.

Bob Herbert, on a recent public hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee on the costs of the war:
The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”

Mr. Hormats mentioned Social Security and Medicare, saying that both could have been put “on a more sustainable basis.” And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers.

You can read the rest of it here.


Anonymous said...

I think about what that money could have gained us...

Can you imagine, every single American housed and sheltered...for life? Owning her/his own small place with only taxes to worry about for the rest of her/his life? (god, we need a single, third-person, gender-neutral pronoun...we really do.)

How many trikes and bikes...and busses, so that no urban American would ever have to pay for gas or waste fuel for a car again?

hipparchia said...

i use they myself. i promise not to go all grammar nazi if you want to use it too.

Can you imagine, every single American housed and sheltered...for life?

it's still only imaginary at this point, isn't it? but yes, it's a hugely important basic goal to work on, right now.

Unknown said...

The idiocy of it is that our government would not spend the billions its spend on war on non-warmaking items such as housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, health care for the poor, protecting the environment, etc.

hipparchia said...

or repairing or replacing aging infrastructure, or development of alternate energy sources, or....

but you're right, that money was already earmarked strictly for killing. it wouldn't have been spent on anything productive or beneficial.

otoh, it would have been available for the next administration to spend had this administration left it alone.

libhom said...

When you think of all the damage done to Iraq, the cost to the Iraqis has to be even more than the $3 trillion the war has cost us.

The whole thing is so terrible.

hipparchia said...

you're right, but a sad truth, lh, is that an awful lot of americans really don't care about the cost to the iraqis. the best we can hope for in that case is to show them how much the war has cost americans.