The $5 Trillion Wars

Linda J. Bilmes writes for The Boston Globe:

US troops patrolled in Kunar province, Afghanistan, in December 2010.This October marks 15 years since American troops entered Afghanistan. It was a precursor to the occupation of Iraq and is the longest military conflict in US history. Yet the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives expended in these wars have rated barely a mention in the presidential campaign.

The most recent estimates suggest that war costs will run to nearly $5 trillion — a staggering sum that exceeds even the $3 trillion that Joseph Stiglitz and I predicted back in 2008.

Yet the cost seems invisible to politicians and the public alike. The reason is that almost all of the spending has been financed through borrowing — selling US Treasury Bonds around the world — leaving our children to pick up the tab. Consequently, the wars have had little impact on our pocketbooks.

READ MORE…

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