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Marketplace Morning Report

Iraq War could cost trillions more

Jeff Tyler Feb 28, 2008
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Doug Krizner: This country’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are an expensive undertaking. The Joint Economic Committee recently pegged the total cost at about $1.3 trillion. But other estimates are much higher.

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz predicted the number will ultimately reach $3 trillion. He’ll testify on the subject today at a congressional hearing, as Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: The $3 trillion figure reflects the broad economic impact of the war, including billions of dollars to provide long-term health care for veterans.

Bob Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, will speak about the issue at today’s hearing.

Bob Hormats: My suggestions would be they tax on upper-income Americans specifically dedicated to a fund to make sure that wounded veterans have their health care that they’re going to need.

Hormats has written a book examining how American wars have been financed from the Revolution onwards. He says previous generations did a better job at financial oversight.

Hormats: Harry Truman, who was then a senator, had this watchdog committee called The Truman Commission, and probably saved the U.S. government $15 billion during World War II.

Unlike past conflicts, Hormats says the current war has not triggered cuts in domestic programs nor tax hikes. But with war costs rising, history may yet repeat itself.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

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