The Hidden Cost of George Bush’s War

Josh White notes:

The economic costs to the United States of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total approximately $1.5 trillion, according to a new study by congressional Democrats that estimates the conflicts’ “hidden costs”– including higher oil prices, the expense of treating wounded veterans and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars. That amount is nearly double the $804 billion the White House has spent or requested to wage these wars through 2008, according to the Democratic staff of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee. Its report, titled “The Hidden Costs of the Iraq War,” estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have thus far cost the average U.S. family of four more than $20,000. “The full economic costs of the war to the American taxpayers and the overall U.S. economy go well beyond even the immense federal budget costs already reported,” said the 21-page draft report, obtained yesterday by The Washington Post. The report argues that war funding is diverting billions of dollars away from “productive investment” by American businesses in the United States. It also says that the conflicts are pulling reservists and National Guardsmen away from their jobs, resulting in economic disruptions for U.S. employers that the report estimates at $1 billion to $2 billion.

George Bush likes to tell you that he has cut your taxes. But Kevin Drum reminds us:

Milton Friedman said that borrowing and taxing were the same thing.

Government debt is really deferred taxation. So George Bush’s tax “cut” was nothing more than a shifting of the tax burden onto the future.

Update: RUDY has a plan to reduce the Federal deficit without a tax increase:

To cut government spending, Giuliani promised to replace only half of the federal workers expected to retire over the next eight to 10 years. He promised to retain the tax cuts put in place by the Bush administration. Those two actions, he said, would require that average Americans take more responsibility for their lives.

Josh Marshall thinks about the real world consequences of RUDY’s proposal:

Now, I’ve never been much of a math wiz. But half of 60% is I think 30%. So Rudy seems to be saying he’ll cut the federal workforce by about 1/3, which sounds like it would likely have some pretty serious consequences. Meanwhile, another recent study says that over the next two years alone the federal government plans to hire 193,000 new workers for “mission-critical” jobs. And about 1/3 of those are in “security, protection, compliance and enforcement.” The study also notes that most of those new hires are for the Department of Homeland Security for stuff like customs enforcement, border security and immigration enforcement. Presumably he’s willing to gut those enforcement responsibilities.

Hmm. So RUDY will reduce the Federal government’s commitment to homeland security. I guess we are responsible for our own security since his Administration doesn’t want to pay for it. Or maybe RUDY didn’t think through what he said – again. Seriously, this fellow would eclipse George W. Bush as the worst President in my life time.