Monday, March 26, 2007

McCain, telling it like it is (inadvertently)

From a March 26 Associated Press story:
"One of the reasons Republicans lost the war — excuse me, lost the election," [John McCain] said in Ames, Iowa. Then, in Milford, N.H., he said, "My friends, we lost the war — we lost the election, we lost the election because of spending."

Martin Wolk, chief economic correspondent at MSNBC, wrote March 17:

"In any event, most estimates put forward by White House officials in 2002 and 2003 were relatively low compared with the nation's gross domestic product, the size of the federal budget or the cost of past wars.

White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey was the exception to the rule, offering an 'upper bound' estimate of $100 billion to $200 billion in a September 2002 interview with The Wall Street Journal. That figure raised eyebrows at the time, although Lindsey argued the cost was small, adding, "The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.

U.S. direct spending on the war in Iraq already has surpassed the upper bound of Lindsey's upper bound, and most economists attribute billions more in indirect costs to the war effort. Even if the U.S. exits Iraq within another three years, total direct and indirect costs to U.S. taxpayers will likely be more than $400 billion, and one estimate puts the total economic impact at up to $2 trillion."

On the upper end, Wolk writes: "Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and self-described opponent of the war, puts the final figure at a staggering $1 trillion to $2 trillion, including $500 billion for the war and occupation and up to $300 billion in future health care costs for wounded troops. Additional costs include a negative impact from the rising cost of oil and added interest on the national debt."