ON WISCONSIN: End the Wars, Invest at Home
By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via TomHayden.com
The direct monthly costs of the wars are more than enough to close state budget gaps
Cost of Iraq: $3 trillion [projected]
Cost of Afghanistan: $1 trillion [projected]
California budget gap: $28 billion
Wisconsin budget gap: $138 million
The details can be debated, but these figures make clear that the budget crises faced in places like Wisconsin and California can be ended by rapidly ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. California taxpayers have contributed no less than $146.3 billion to these wars since 2001; Wisconsin taxpayers, $18.4 billion. Direct monthly costs of the wars - $12.5 billion in Iraq, $16 billion for Afghanistan – are more than enough to close the gaps in those two states.
It is time for our most prominent liberal economists to broaden their analysis of the domestic crisis to include spending for these unfunded wars. Only Joseph Stiglitz has done so.
Where are the others? Are they ambivalent about ending the wars? If so, they should explain their reasons. Are they afraid of the counter-attack by the right? It is more likely that their conventional economic models simply discount the factor of war expenditures. If that’s the reason, a quick adjustment of their analysis would make a huge contribution to the national debate.