Note: Food post below...
I don't always read regional newspapers that closely. But once in a while you read a column that calls things as it is. And the last line of this column says it well. The ordinary folks like us and the next generation will pay for this folly. Read on the excerpts below if you please. The full article is from the St.Petersburg Times by Robyn E. Blumner.
.....It was only four years ago when Lawrence Lindsey, then-head of the White House's National Economic Council, estimated that the "upper bound" of the cost of going to war with Iraq would be between $100-billion and $200-billion....Well, we've kissed the $200-billion limit goodbye long ago. We're currently out of pocket more than $400-billion and adding to the bill at the rate of $8-billion per month. Iraq's oil riches have contributed nothing at all.
So what's the current upper-range estimate? Trillions.
According to an analysis by professor Linda Bilmes of the Kennedy School at Harvard and professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, if you use government assumptions about the size of troop strength over the coming years, the war will cost us $1-trillion in direct budgetary outlays. Then, they say, add another trillion dollars for the war's adverse impact on our economy, such things as the loss of economic services by the men and women disabled during the war, the increase in the price of oil and other macroeconomic factors.
Bilmes says that most people have trouble understanding the scale of $2-trillion. To grasp the number, she says, one should think of it like this: "1-billion seconds equals 32 years; 1-trillion seconds equals 300 centuries."......
Here is what Bilmes and Stiglitz found:
Due to advances in body armor, survival rates for soldiers have increased dramatically. But the darker side of this blessing are the traumatic head and brain injuries that leave many completely dependent on caregivers. This group now makes up about 20 percent of the injured, and the estimated cost of providing continual lifetime care for them is $35-billion. That's on top of the estimate that additional VA costs for returning veterans from Iraq will run $57-billion.
These veterans may also be eligible to claim disability benefits of up to $44,000 annually. Bilmes and Stiglitz have used figures from the first Gulf War to project what we can expect from this one. For a war that lasted four weeks and tallied fewer than 500 wounded in action, 169,000 veterans are being paid on average nearly $12,000 per year in disability claims. More than a third of those deployed filed claims. If the same holds true for the current conflict in Iraq (and how could it not as the war stretches well into its fourth year), the researchers estimate it will cost $122-billion to fulfill this obligation.
From the start the Bush administration has tried to cover up the outlandish expenses associated with going into Iraq. Initially, by refusing to provide figures at all, then lowballing the estimates and then paying for it through more than a dozen "emergency supplemental" requests rather than putting predictable outlays in the budget.
The burdensome cost of this war is a tangible danger to the future security of our nation, not one conjured through ginned-up intelligence. Iraq is Bush's folly and Bush's shame, but we're the ones who will pay.