Thursday, March 6, 2008

Large opportunities lost, everyday

We didn't hear too much about last week's Joint Economic Committee's public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Think about this.

For a fraction of the cost of the war, Social Security could have been saved and put on a "sound footing for the next half-century or more."

Money spent on the war each and every day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers. Multiply that by 365.

What we’re getting instead is the stuff of nightmares - for America and the Iraqis. Civilian casualties are up 36% in Iraq in Feb. '08, and just today, we hear of another suicide bombing in Baghdad that has killed at least 53 and maimed 125.

Stiglitz notes:
...nearly 40 percent of the 700,000 troops from the first Gulf War, which lasted just a month, have become eligible for disability benefits. The current war is approaching five years in duration.

"Imagine then, what a war — that will almost surely involve more than 2 million troops and will almost surely last more than six or seven years — will cost. Already we are seeing large numbers of returning veterans showing up at V.A. hospitals for treatment, large numbers applying for disability and large numbers with severe psychological problems."

The Bush administration has tried its best to conceal the horrendous costs of the war. It has bypassed the normal budgetary process, financing the war almost entirely through “emergency” appropriations that get far less scrutiny.

Story: The $2 Trillion Nightmare

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