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Is the Iraq War impacting the U.S. economy?

On the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War, debate is heightening about whether the costs of the war are causing the country’s slide into recession.

The book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict” by economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, makes the case that the war is costing much more than the Bush administration is reporting and is causing America’s domestic economic difficulties.

Bilmes discussed the book on NPR's Fresh Air, March 3, 2008.

A Sunday Washington Post article quotes the authors as follows:

In one way or another, we will be paying for these costs, today, next year, and over the coming decades -- in higher taxes, in public and private investments that will have to be curtailed, in social programs that will have to be cut back. One cannot fight a war, especially a war as long and as costly as this war, without paying the price.

In a March 3 blog, The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington wrote:

Stiglitz makes the case that no country can fight a protracted war without deep and long-lasting effects on domestic policy. Particularly a protracted war paired with tax cuts… Stiglitz also argues that the war has played a major role in the current subprime credit crisis and our long, hard slog toward recession. Because of the cost of the war, the Fed flooded the system with credit.

A CNN poll released today showed that more than seven out of 10 Americans think government spending on the war in Iraq is partly responsible for the economic troubles in the United States.

The National Priorities Project, a research organization that analyzes federal data for citizens, believes spending on health care and housing and the construction of new schools and bridges is being slashed due to spending on the Iraq War.

The group has analyzed President Bush's spending priorities and examined the cost of the Iraq War, proposed budget cuts in domestic programs, and keeping tax cuts for the wealthy. State-level publications are offered.

President Bush, speaking on NBC's "Today" last month, disputed the notion that the war was negatively affecting the economy, according to a CNN report.

I think actually the spending in the war might help with jobs ... because we're buying equipment and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses and the economy's adjusting.


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