Huge Taxpayer Burdens Due to War Against Iraq
NEW STUDY FINDS COST OF WAR AND POST-SADDAM IRAQ LIKELY TO EXCEED $110,000,000,000 THIS YEAR; COULD EXCEED $550BILLION OVER NEXT DECADE
As Vice President Dick Cheney's company Halliburton, and other U.S. corporations, line up for contracts and handouts associated with "postwar Iraq," we can see some of the beneficiaries of the war against Iraq. But who is paying for this war? The U.S. taxpayers, of course. Here are the details, from Taxpayers for Common Sense.
To reduce the U.S. taxpayer costs of occupying and rebuilding Iraq, the Bush administration needs to encourage other countries to share the long-term financial burden of Iraq, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a national budget watchdog organization.
The report, "Sharing the Burden," concludes that the costs of the war with Iraq will exceed $110 billion for 2003 and could exceed $550 billion over the next 10 years. The report assumes that this year's cost will include a month long war followed by eight months of occupation and rebuilding.
The United States has already spent $1 billion on cruise missiles, $380 million on chemical protective suits, and more than $100 million on air combat missions, according to the report.
"The administration needs to disclose completely the long-term costs of Iraqi war," commented Keith Ashdown, author of report and Vice President of Policy at Taxpayer for Common Sense. "This is vital, so that later our nation doesn't come down with a bad case of sticker shock and we shortchange the necessary efforts to bringing democracy to Iraq. The President needs to prepare to nation for the sacrifices necessary to pay for this hundred billion dollar war."
"There is not one dollar in this year's budget to pay for the war," continued Ashdown. "The cost of the war will blow a hole in the budget that future generations will have to pay."
Adding to a federal deficit topping $300 billion this year, the administration is expected to request $80 billion from Congress early this week to start to pay for the war, homeland security and humanitarian aid. "It is about time that the administration show its cards on what we are spending. They need to let taxpayers know what the total bill for Iraq will be," continued Ashdown.
The deficit and war costs are expected to crowd out other domestic programs, funds for a new Medicare prescription drug benefit, Social Security reform and some of the President's own pet projects.
"With record deficits, the administration needs to find other countries to share this financial burden of rebuilding Iraq or it will leave the United States in a financially and militarily vulnerable position," continued Ashdown. "For a variety of reasons we were unable to get any other country to pay for the combat portion of this effort. Our nation needs to aggressively push for others to help pay for post-war efforts, because these costs will far exceed the cost of the combat."
Unlike the Persian Gulf War, almost all of the total costs of the current war are being funded by U.S. taxpayers. Great Britain will contribute about $2.7 billion for its role in current coalition efforts.
"While it should never be the deciding factor, any time our nation decides to go to war, the budgetary and economic costs should always be considered," concluded Ashdown.
Some of the highlights of the report:
The full report is available now at http://www.taxpayer.net/nationalsecurity/learnmore/BRAC/HTML/IraqReport.htm
- A war lasting 1-3 months will cost between $56-$85 billion. The is based on 250,000 - 300,000 troops, 25,000 - 35,000 air combat sorties and five aircraft battle groups.
- The Iraq war and post-Saddam Iraq will cost between $170-$550 billion over the next decade. The report finds that getting other countries to share the financial burden will be essential to reducing the long-term financial burden of Iraq.
- A total cost of $110 billion for combat and rebuilding efforts for 2003. This assumes the war ends before May and rebuilding, humanitarian aid begins shortly after.
Private Notes for George Bush --
Simple Ways to Fund the US War on Iraq
Must paying for the US war be difficult? Writing in the Progressive Review, Sam Smith cheerfully suggests some simple ways to pay for the US war against Iraq. None of these would require a massive tax hike nor a generation-long bond debt.
Eliminate all federal spending on international affairs, general science, space, technology, natural resources, and the Amtrak bailout. Oops, that won't quite cover it.
Eliminate all federal spending on agriculture, commerce, housing, and 96% of the money we spend on transportation. Simply cut 93% of the money spent on education, training, employment, and social services. Eliminate all veterans' benefits and half of the justice system. Default on 43% of this year's interest payments on the federal debt.
(These are meant to sound absurd. It is unlikely that Americans consider the pre-emptive strikes on Iraq to be worth any of the above.)
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