Friday, December 5, 2014

Iraqistan Dollar Numbers

The Iraqistan wars cost about $3+trillions, and the discounted cost of future benefits to veterans is a bit less than $1trillions (they peak 20-30 years out), and there is another $300billions of unreimbursed care provided by families and others. Linda Bilmes of Harvard's Kennedy school is my source. By the way, the US GDP is about $17trillions, and the US Budget is about 21% of that, with a difference between revenue and spending of a few of those percent. The national debt is about the same as the GDP. One of Bilmes' points is that the Iraqistan war was financed by borrowing, and we will pay interest on that debt (say 3% of $3trillions is $90billion, and the defense budget is about $500+billions) so decreasing our future military spending. Other places I look place defense spending at $1.2trillions--I'm sure I am missing something here. 

Experts point out how GDP has lots of problems as a measure, that there are big pools of money in the budget that are restricted (entitlements and the like) so that the unrestricted budget or discretionary spending (including defense) is rather smaller, that tax expenditures ("loopholes" and specific exclusions) are large, $1+trillions (about twice as large as non-defense discretionary spending).

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