Cost Of War Heading Toward One

Cost of War Heading toward One Trillion Dollars

Some less ethical automobile salesmen will deploy a tactic called “low-balling.” The young naive couple comes in and sees a coupe they like. They think it is beyond their means, maybe in the $30,000s. He’ll quote them $26,000. There will be financing. They get excited. Maybe, just maybe, it can work. They can have their dream car. So the salesman says, let me talk to my boss. The couple sits in the car. They dream of driving it home. The salesman comes back glum, shuffling with embarrassment. My manager, he says, over-ruled me. We couldn’t let it go for less than $32,000. So the couple is crushed. But they had already driven the car home in their minds. They liked the color of the floor model. They ran their fingers over the upholstery. They smelled the newness inside. O.K. They’ll cut back on luxuries. No vacation for a few years. They sign up. It comes to $35,000 loaded.

This item says that Bush administration officials told the American people that the Iraq War would cost $50 billion. A reader reminds me that the head of US AID actually put the cost at $1.7 billion. Paul Wolfowitz, that great economist now neoliberalizing the World Bank, even implied that Iraqi petroleum would pay for Iraq reconstruction. The cost of the war is rising toward a thousand billion dollars, i.e. a short-scale $1 trillion. Bush is still keeping this sum off the official budget (why?), and so it does not show up in the official figures for the budget deficit. But the money for the war is being borrowed, so that our grandchildren will still be debt slaves of Halliburton and Boeing. Folks, we’ve done been low-balled. The difference between us and that young couple with the coupe, though is at least they have a coupe. We’ve got rubble in the Middle East for our $1 trillion, on which we’re paying interest every month.

Meanwhile, at least somebody got something out of this miserable war. Millions in ill-gotten gains and jail time.

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