The New York Times’ Bob Herbert writes:
The war in Iraq will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers not hundreds of billions of dollars, but an astonishing $2 trillion, and perhaps more. There has been very little in the way of public conversation, even in the presidential campaigns, about the consequences of these costs, which are like a cancer inside the American economy.
On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.
Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”
Matt Yglesias notes, “Few people seem to appreciate it, but it’s quite literally true that al-Qaeda’s strategy is to cripple the U.S. economy by dragging us into quagmires abroad.” Arianna Huffington writes, “The thing about $3,000,000,000,000 is that, at a certain point, it becomes hard to ignore.”