Tuesday, January 10, 2006

That's a Lot of Scratch, Son

This is somewhat old news already, but the renowned Nobel-winning economist (and liberal) Joseph Stiglitz has published, with his colleague Linda Bilmes, a new paper which estimates the overall budgetary costs of Mr. Bush's War.

As a summary article in the Guardian puts it, Stiglitz and Bilmes contend that "The real cost to the US of the Iraq war is likely to be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion... up to 10 times more than previously thought." A huge portion of these costs are simply caring for the servicemen and women who have been grievously injured: "The economists predict the cost of lifetime care for the thousands of troops who have suffered brain injuries alone could run to $35bn. Taking in increased defence spending as a result of the war, veterans' disability payments and demobilisation costs, the economists predict the budgetary costs of the war alone could approach $1 trillion."

For what it's worth, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal government will have to lay out about $500 billion to finance Mr. Bush's War. But what's being off by 50%? It's close enough, as they say, for government work.