Economic Costs | Costs of War

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2021-08-16 23:00:01

Through Fiscal Year 2020, the United States federal government has spent or obligated $6.4 trillion dollars on the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. This figure includes: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care.

This total omits many other expenses, such as the macroeconomic costs to the US economy; the opportunity costs of not investing war dollars in alternative sectors; future interest on war borrowing; and local government and private war costs.

P ublic access to budget information about the post-9/11 is imperfect and incomplete. T he scale of spending alone make s it hard to grasp. P ublic und erstanding of the budgetary costs of war is further limited by secrecy, faulty ac counting , and the deferral of current costs .

The current wars have been paid for almost entirely by borrowing. This borrowing has raised the US budget deficit, increased the national debt, and had other macroeconomic effects, such as raising consumer interest rates. Unless the US immediately repays the money borrowed for war, there will also be future interest payments. We estimate that interest payments could total over $6.5 trillion by the 2050s.

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