- The political economy of victory in Iraq (FCN, 01-25-2007)
(FinalCall.com) – With the President announcing January 10, that he is sending more troops to Iraq, he is also asking for more money which means less money is available for domestic issues. The National Priorities Project, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that tracks federal spending policies, has calculated that thus far U.S. taxpayers have spent $378 billion for the war in Iraq. While President Bush spends the peoples money on defense, this group points out the negative impact of the enormous cost of war and calculates that for the same amount of money, the following could have been provided for domestic services:
– 107,796,841uninsured adults could have received health careor
– 6,435,412new elementary school teachers could have been hiredor
– 51,873,199Head Start slots for children could be availableor
– 161,204,628uninsured children could have received health careor
– 2,940,426new affordable housing units could be availableor
– 38,024new elementary schools could be builtor
– 62,398,244scholarships for university students could be availableor
– 6,562,500new music and arts teachers could be hiredor
– 8,458,741new public safety officerscould be hired.
In her testimony before Congress in September 2006, Dr. Anita Dances, research director for the National Priorities Project explained that, “Every dollar spent on the Iraq War is a dollar we cannot spend on addressing other priorities, whether abroad or at home. Economists call this an ‘opportunity cost.’ Congress has so far spent nearly $320 billion on the war.But all of these dollars are dollars that could have been directed toward meeting other needs and investing in our future.”
“In the run up to the Iraq War, the American public was not made aware of the enormous cost of military operations and the possibility of a protracted involvement. In fact, the White House claimed that the war cost would amount to $50 billion. When its economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, claimed it would be between $100 billion – $200 billion, he was fired.”
She continued, “Even after the Iraq War began, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Iraq War would cost between $85 billion – $200 billion through fiscal year 2013.”
“Overly optimistic scenarios of the Iraq War continue to be propounded, leading the public to draw the wrong conclusions: that war can be an inexpensive cakewalk. Yet, three and a half years later, the American public is increasingly recognizing that the costs have been too high and the benefits are altogether unclear. The public is ready to hear the truth and debate the options, if only more elected officials would show leadership in this area,” said Dr. Dances.