From Publishers Weekly
The reviews give a good sense of what the book is about and what we need to remember each day as we look at bringing on even more debt.
Starred Review. Readers may be surprised to learn just how difficult it was for Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz and Kennedy School of Government professor Bilmes to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War for this thorough piece of accounting. Using "emergency" funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the White House has kept even Congress and the Comptroller General from getting a clear idea on the war's true costs. Other expenses are simply overlooked, one of the largest of which is the $600 billion going toward current and future health care for veterans. These numbers reveal stark truths: improvements in battlefield medicine have prevented many deaths, but seven soldiers are injured for every one that dies (in WWII, this ratio was 1.6 to one). Figuring in macroeconomic costs and interest-the war has been funded with much borrowed money-the cost rises to $4.5 trillion; add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion. This shocking expose, capped with 18 proposals for reform, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the war was financed, as well as what it means for troops on the ground and the nation's future.
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"This is a catalog [of costs] the Bush team never looked at. It's a catalog that they still don't want you to see."—James Galbraith
America has already spent close to a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are hundreds of billions of bills still due—including staggering costs to take care of the thousands of injured veterans, providing them with disability benefits and health care. In this sobering study, Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard University's Linda J. Bilmes reveal a wide range of costs that have been hidden from U.S. taxpayers and left out of the debate about our involvement in Iraq. That involvement, the authors conservatively estimate, will cost us more than $3 trillion.
"Stiglitz and Bilmes have clearly demonstrated the need for Congress and the administration to ensure that those making sacrifices today will see those sacrifices honored in the future."—Dave W. Gorman, executive director, Disabled American Veterans