Five years ago, as the Bush administration was preparing to attack
War is always expensive, but this war is particularly expensive. It is now the nation's second longest (after
From an economic perspective, this is the first war in America's history that ordinary citizens have not been asked to make an economic sacrifice as their sons and daughters risked their lives; as we went to war, there was a huge deficit, but in spite of this, we actually cut taxes on upper-income Americans, meaning the costs are being passed on to future generations.
The war set off the rise in oil prices. Oil cost $25 a barrel before the war, and the futures markets—which already took into account the projected growth in demand by China and other emerging markets—nonetheless expected prices to remain at this level for another decade. The invasion of
[Rising oil costs] transferred money out of the pockets of consumers and businesses into the coffers of oil exporters like
Indeed, most of the money we have spent on Iraq has not stimulated the U.S. economy … paying contractors from Nepal, the Philippines and elsewhere to cook food, wash laundry, construct barracks and drive trucks in Iraq.
The contractors have done well though—just look at Halliburton Co.'s share prices, which almost tripled in value.
[Excerpt of an article by J. E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, writing in The Chicago Tribune]