Synopses & Reviews
Apart from its tragic human toll, the Iraq War will be staggeringly expensive in financial terms. This sobering study by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmes casts a spotlight on expense items that have been hidden from the U.S. taxpayer, including not only big-ticket items like replacing military equipment (being used up at six times the peacetime rate) but also the cost of caring for thousands of wounded veterans--for the rest of their lives. Shifting to a global focus, the authors investigate the cost in lives and economic damage within Iraq and the region. Finally, with the chilling precision of an actuary, the authors measure what the U.S. taxpayer's money would have produced if instead it had been invested in the further growth of the U.S. economy. Written in language as simple as the details are disturbing, this book will forever change the way we think about the war.
"Readers may be surprised to learn just how difficult it was for Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz and Kennedy School of Government professor Bilmes to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War for this thorough piece of accounting. Using 'emergency' funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the White House has kept even Congress and the Comptroller General from getting a clear idea on the war's true costs. Other expenses are simply overlooked, one of the largest of which is the $600 billion going toward current and future health care for veterans. These numbers reveal stark truths: improvements in battlefield medicine have prevented many deaths, but seven soldiers are injured for every one that dies (in WWII, this ratio was 1.6 to one). Figuring in macroeconomic costs and interest-the war has been funded with much borrowed money-the cost rises to $4.5 trillion; add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion. This shocking expose, capped with 18 proposals for reform, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the war was financed, as well as what it means for troops on the ground and the nation's future." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
America has already spent close to a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are hundreds of billions of bills still due'"including staggering costs to take care of the thousands of injured veterans, providing them with disability benefits and health care. In this sobering study, Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard University's Linda J. Bilmes reveal a wide range of costs that have been hidden from U.S. taxpayers and left out of the debate about our involvement in Iraq. That involvement, the authors conservatively estimate, will cost us more than $3 trillion."Stiglitz and Bilmes have clearly demonstrated the need for Congress and the administration to ensure that those making sacrifices today will see those sacrifices honored in the future."'"Dave W. Gorman, executive director, Disabled American Veterans
The true cost of the Iraq War is $3 trillion--and counting--rather than the $50 billion projected by the White House.
"This is a catalog [of costs] the Bush team never looked at. It's a catalog that they still don't want you to see."'"James Galbraith
About the Author
Linda J. Bilmes, of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is an expert in government finance. She is a former assistant secretary and chief financial officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce.Winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz is the best-selling author of Making Globalization Work; Globalization and Its Discontents; and, with Linda Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War. He was chairman of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and served as senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.