As we approach the third anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq, with domestic spending being gutted, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans being extended, and the Bush administration submitting a request for an additional $72.4 billion in war-related funding, the National Priorities Project (NPP) has issued an invaluable new report demonstrating the financial impact of the war on taxpayers in every state.
Upon approval of the supplemental funding bill, total spending on the war and occupation in Iraq will exceed $315 billion. Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, estimates that when all is said and done the final price tag will reach somewhere between $1 trillion and $2 trillion.
The NPP highlights the unfathomable trade-offs our nation is making in order to continue funding the Iraq occupation – other spending priorities that are being missed – both at the state and national levels.
Check out these vivid examples: for the same $315 billion, over 71 million people could have received comprehensive health care (36 million are currently uninsured); 61 million students could receive university scholarships; nearly 5 million workers could be employed as port container inspectors (only 6 percent of the 9 million containers arriving annually are currently inspected); or every child in the world could be given basic immunizations for the next 80 years...
In Washington, DC, where US citizens are still denied representation in Congress, taxpayers will pay $1.5 billion towards Iraq through Fiscal Year 2006. Money that could otherwise be used to place 201,000 children in Head Start; build 10,000 affordable housing units; open 175 new Elementary schools; or ensure that 607,000 children receive health care….
NPP has made it very easy to see what could be done in your state if not for the war's costs. Click here to check it out, and make sure your friends, family, and representatives know the true story about the waste, costs, and lost opportunities that result from the continued disaster in Iraq.
Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor of The Nation.
© 2006 The Nation