Commentators in the US often prate on about the costs of entitlements programs such as pensions and social security or medicare and medicaid. There is very little discussion of these military costs or costs associated with homeland security. The infrastructure of the US such as bridges and roads is deterioriating, many people do not have proper health care or housing but funds are not appropriated to solve these problems.
A Look at the Mounting Cost of the Iraq War
By BOB DEANS
Cox News Service
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
WASHINGTON — By Friday, the Senate is expected to authorize a record-breaking $648 billion in defense spending for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Even adjusted for inflation, the Pentagon budget for the coming year would be the largest tab for national defense since the end of World War II.
Driving the increase is the continuing war in Iraq, where more than 3,610 U.S. troops have been killed and 26,700 wounded, according to Pentagon figures.
Adding the cost of continuing the fight and long-term costs, such as taking care of wounded and disabled veterans and the toll exacted on the U.S. economy, the total cost of the war could reach well beyond $2 trillion, according to a study last year by two scholars at Harvard and Columbia universities.
By the numbers:
$567 billion – Cost of the war through 2008, according to a June analysis by the Congressional Research Service, which exists to provide nonpartisan advice to lawmakers and congressional committees.
$350 billion-$700 billion — Estimated lifetime care for wounded and disabled veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study by Linda Blimes of Harvard University. The numbers vary depending on the duration of the war and the troop levels.
$100 billion — The potential additional costs through 2014 even if most combat troops come home next year. Retaining 30,000 troops per year — about a fifth of the current force level in Iraq — would cost about $21 billion a year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates. So, if troop levels were reduced to 30,000 by 2010 — the first full year after the next president takes office — it would cost about $100 billion to keep them there until 2014.
$22 billion — Economic value of lost lives.
Economists and government agencies value the earning and production potential of the average American male in his prime at roughly $6 million. Using that figure, the economic value of the 3,613 lives lost as of July 16 is $21.7 billion.
$390,000 — Estimated cost to deploy an American soldier to Iraq for a year, according to the Congressional Research Service.