Sunday, February 23, 2014

But We Have No Money For Infrastructure

Iraq and Afghanistan will cost Americans $4 to $6 TRILLION, by @DavidOAtkins
So much opportunity to build a better country after 9/11, flushed down the toilet by Bush and Cheney. And forget about the mental and emotional toll of all those men and women damaged by war.

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher. Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday. "As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives," the report says. "The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come." Bilmes said the United States has spent almost $2 trillion already for the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those costs, she said, are only a fraction of the ultimate price tag. The biggest ongoing expense will be providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of the two conflicts. "Historically, the bill for these costs has come due many decades later," the report says, noting that the peak disbursement of disability payments for America's warriors in the last century came decades after the conflicts ended. "Payments to Vietnam and first Gulf War veterans are still climbing." "

And don't forget the insistence that none of it be paid for . . . instead, we had to give the rich huge tax cuts at the same time we were running up these monster expenditures.  The Republican Party is the party of fiscal profligacy, and the most profligate presidents of all time were George W. Bush and Saint Ronnie Reagan.

It really is a damned shame what they did to this country.  And an even bigger shame that so many people still don't appreciate the wholesale destruction they left in their wake: fiscal, physical, and emotional.

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