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A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

When dealing with the cost of the president’s policies in the Middle East, at the top of the priority list is the human cost, with Americans who’v

When dealing with the cost of the president’s policies in the Middle East, at the top of the priority list is the human cost, with Americans who’ve lost their lives, and thousands more who have suffered serious injuries.

But there are also financial costs to consider, and they are staggering.

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion through the next decade, or nearly $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate scheduled for release today.

A previous CBO estimate put the wars’ costs at more than $1.6 trillion. This one adds $705 billion in interest, taking into account that the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money. [...]

Assuming that Iraq accounts for about 80% of that total, the Iraq war would cost $1.9 trillion, including $564 million in interest, said Thomas Kahn, Spratt’s staff director. The committee holds a hearing on war costs this morning.

The White House budget office said Congress was trying to “artificially inflate war funding levels.” Asked how much the administration thinks the war actually costs, the White House budget office refused to say. What a surprise.

Two other quick angles to consider. First, let’s not forget that the Bush gang was asked how much they estimated the war in Iraq would cost. Administration officials said it would be no more than $50 billion. Oops.

Second, the House Budget Committee held a hearing today to discuss the $2.4 trillion price tag. Republican lawmakers on the committee didn’t show up.

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