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Monday, April 01, 2013

Of the nearly 1.6 million troops that have been discharged from the Iraq/Afghan wars, over half have received Veterans’ Affairs medical treatment and will also receive benefits for the rest of their lives. - This long tail of spending follows a well-established historical trend, writes Bilmes: disability spending on World War I veterans hit its peak in 1969, and spending on World War II veterans was at its highest in the late 1980s.



The Total Iraq and Afghanistan Price tag: Over $4 Trillion
The wars are over, but the spending is just beginning, says a new study

March 28, 2013


The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been declared officially over, but America has barely begun to pay the bill, says a new study. That could make defending the nation and paying the government's bills even tougher to do in the future.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars will together cost $4 to $6 trillion, according a new study from Harvard University's Kennedy School. A large share of those bills has yet to be paid: the study finds that the U.S. has spent around $2 trillion thus far on the two controversial wars, and that growing commitments to spending on military personnel and veterans will drive much of the spending in the decades to come. The study notes that the Veterans' Affairs budget has tripled since the start of the wars.
"Assuming this pattern continues, there will be a much smaller amount of an already-shrinking defense budget available for core military functions," writes Linda Bilmes, senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard and the study's author.
Bilmes has been studying the costs of the two wars for years, and she says that the estimates of the total cost continue to climb as the cost of continuing care for veterans mounts.
"What has happened is the number of injuries and the number of claims and the complexity of claims...in these conflicts has been much higher than in previous wars," she says. She notes that after Vietnam, veterans averaged around two and a half to three conditions per claim, whereas veterans now have over eight conditions per claim.
Of the nearly 1.6 million troops that have been discharged from the wars, over half have received Veterans' Affairs medical treatment and will also receive benefits for the rest of their lives. Those costs will stack up as more troops are discharged and need benefits. The study finds that providing medical and disability benefits to vets will eventually cost over $836 billion.
This long tail of spending follows a well-established historical trend, writes Bilmes: disability spending on World War I veterans hit its peak in 1969, and spending on World War II veterans was at its highest in the late 1980s.
There are other factors at play here, however: the military must also spend on replacing worn-out equipment and on interest on the cost of the wars. In addition, Congress ramped up spending on personnel and veterans during the wars, increasing pay for troops to counteract difficulties in recruitment and expanding the military's TRICARE healthcare system. Bilmes believes that spiraling costs may have the potential to change spending on veterans from a "sacred cow" to an area with real potential for deficit reduction.

"If you look at some of the costs that are baked into the system as a result of the wars—military pay raises, military health benefits, expanding the TRICARE system—it's more expensive to have personnel in the Defense Department," which could pressure lawmakers to target that area for cuts in the future. There has already been a glimpse of that in the willingness of some on Capitol Hill to accept the forced cuts of sequestration, which did not exempt the military.
While this study puts the total cost of the wars at $4 trillion to $6 trillion, assessments of the wars' costs do differ from source to source. While the Harvard study puts the cost of the two wars thus far at around $2 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office as of October 2012 said that only $1.4 trillion had been appropriated, though they do not account for some areas, like Social Security Disability Insurance, Bilmes points out. In addition, while she estimates the total cost of the two wars at $4 to $6 trillion, the Costs of War project at Brown University estimates it at around $4 trillion.

10 comments:

  1. Now, we've moved some F-22's to South Korea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some guy coming on Bennett says this time is different.
      When Seoul gets shelled, I'll believe.

      Delete
    2. "They've got the nukes"

      ...are they smaller or larger than our largest chemical weapon?

      Delete
    3. Norkors supply missiles and nuke technology and all the rest to Iran through Chinese Airports. (Trains, also?)

      Delete
  2. This Real World expericence free, incompetent, racist, America Hating Piece of Shit is the most disgusting turd to ever stain the Whitehouse:

    Easter!

    My ass.

    Chelsea Clinton had a patriotic upbringing compared to these poor abused and confused pickaninnies.


    Pastor at Obama’s Easter Service Criticizes “Captains of the Religious Right”

    The Easter sermon President Obama and his family heard today at nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church slammed conservatives as being racists, sexists, xenophobes and homophobes.

    The AP story says the sermon, led by Rev. Luis Leon, was based on the Gospel of John and the Resurrection of Jesus, but the report managed to omit the part where Leon criticized the “captains of the religious right.”

    According to a press pool report of Leon’s sermon, the minister criticized what he called ”the captains of the religious right.”

    People often want things to go back to the way things used to be, before “work got difficult and faith got confused, and life got more confusing,” Leon said, according to the pool report.

    “You cannot go back,” Leon said, citing the words of Jesus. “It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus ... for women to be back in the kitchen ... for immigrants to be back on their side of the border.”

    The Blaze also picked up on a tweet from Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, who said the pastor also mentioned the religious right wanting “gays in [the] closet”.

    Although the First Family has not officially joined any church in the District, they worship at St. John’s most frequently, according to the Washington Post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I confess, I am indeed a

    "racist, sexist, xenophobe and homophobe"

    ...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is that mess on Michelle's head a Wig?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Issa: IRS Is Violating ObamaCare by Illegally Taxing Employers in 33 States

    House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) writes in the Washington Examiner:

    To combat the sticker shock of Obamacare’s numerous requirements on health insurance premiums, the law creates expensive subsidies, which take the form of tax credits, for individuals who purchase a government-approved insurance plan. In order to avoid the appearance of a federal takeover of health care, the law ties the availability of these premium tax credits to an “Exchange established by the State.” Importantly, the way the law was written, if tax credits are not available within a state, then the expensive employer mandate tax does not apply to companies within that state.

    With so many states refusing to play the role the law’s drafters envisioned, the Obama administration has embarked on a legally dubious effort to bypass the plain language of the law. Obama’s IRS has issued a rule that delivers the expensive subsidies through federally run exchanges as well. If it stands, this extralegal rule will undermine the decision-making role offered to states by Obamacare, and cause hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes and spending not authorized by the president’s health care law…

    The language that limits tax credits to state-established exchanges should not now shock Obamacare’s supporters. Early in 2009, legal scholar Timothy Jost, one of Obamacare’s leading proponents, explicitly suggested linking the tax credits to state-established exchanges as a way to encourage states to set up the exchanges.

    The Obama administration may be surprised and disappointed that many states have not found the refundable tax credit to be a sufficient incentive to set up their own exchanges, exposing their citizens to the other taxes and penalties associated with the law. But this does not justify the administration’s effort to ignore the plain language of the law that Obama championed and signed.

    Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits Under the PPACA.”

    ReplyDelete
  6. " Importantly, the way the law was written, if tax credits are not available within a state, then the expensive employer mandate tax does not apply to companies within that state.

    With so many states refusing to play the role the law’s drafters envisioned, the Obama administration has embarked on a legally dubious effort to bypass the plain language of the law. Obama’s IRS has issued a rule that delivers the expensive subsidies through federally run exchanges as well. If it stands, this extralegal rule will undermine the decision-making role offered to states by Obamacare, and cause hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes and spending not authorized by the president’s health care law…"

    ...only 33 states have excercised that legal option.

    Obama Regieme?

    Fuck em!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what
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    ReplyDelete