Seeing as though this article points out, these police actions/wars by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan have been financed by monopoly money (aka national debt), if this practice stopped, how much of a revenue increase would you personally tolerate to fund these wars?
Wars drove up national debt
By LINDA J. BILMES and JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ, LOS ANGELES TIMES
September 21, 2011 12:05 AM
debt , war on terror
Ten years into the war on terror, the U.S. has largely succeeded in its attempts to destabilize al-Qaida and eliminate its leaders. But the cost has been enormous, and our decisions about how to finance it have profoundly damaged the U.S. economy.
We chose to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan with a small, all-volunteer force, and we supplemented the military presence with a heavy reliance on civilian contractors. These decisions not only placed enormous strain on the troops but dramatically pushed up costs.
To date, the United States has spent more than $2.5 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon spending spree that accompanied it and a battery of new homeland security measures instituted after Sept. 11.
How have we paid for this? Entirely through borrowing. Spending on the wars and on added security at home has accounted for more than one-quarter of the total increase in U.S. government debt since 2001. And not only did we fail to pay as we went for the wars, the George W. Bush administration also successfully pushed to cut taxes in 2001 and again in 2003, which added further to the debt. This toxic combination of lower revenues and higher spending has brought the country to its current political stalemate.
There is only one other time in U.S. history that a war was financed entirely through borrowing, without raising taxes: when the Colonies borrowed from France during the Revolutionary War.
Even if we were to leave Afghanistan and Iraq tomorrow, our war debt would continue to rise for decades. Future bills will include such things as caring for military veterans, replacing military equipment, rebuilding the armed forces and paying interest on all the money we have borrowed.
At this point, the bill for future medical and disability benefits is estimated at $600 billion to $900 billion, but the number will almost surely grow as hundreds of thousands of troops still deployed abroad return home.
And it isn't just in some theoretical future that the wars will affect the nation's economy: They already have. The invasion of Iraq and the resulting instability in the Persian Gulf were among the factors that pushed oil prices up from about $30 a barrel in 2003 to historic highs five years later. Higher oil prices threatened to depress U.S. economic activity, prompting the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates and loosen regulations. These policies were major contributors to the housing bubble and the financial collapse that followed.
For years, the public failed to adequately question how it was possible that we could spend and borrow so freely, with so few consequences. But now the painful legacy of these decisions has become clear. Throughout the past decade, Congress routinely approved huge "emergency" appropriations to pay for the wars. This process pre-empted the usual scrutiny and debate that accompanies large spending bills.
Our response to Sept. 11 has weakened both the current economy and our future economic prospects.
Nearly 10 years into the Afghanistan war, the violence in that country shows little sign of abating. August was the deadliest month of the war yet for U.S. troops. The surge in violence comes as NATO is drawing down and handing over security control to national forces. But tens of thousands of U.S. troops are scheduled to remain in Afghanistan through the end of 2014.
The costs of fighting the war on terror have already been far higher than they needed to be. The U.S. should not take on even greater war debt without understanding the true costs of continuing down that path.
Linda J. Bilmes is a faculty member at Harvard University. Joseph E. Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics.