News & Events

Please join us
for dinner in Honor of

Robert Skidelsky

Sunday, January 4, 2015
Reception at 6:30pm
Dinner at 7:30pm

Boston Marriott Copley Place

For more information email registration@epsusa.org

Tickets are available here.

EPS at the AEA / ASSA meetings
Boston,
Massachusetts
January 3  - 5, 2015

Boston Marriott Copley Place

  •  "Inequality: Challenge of the Century?" (Panel discussion)
  •  US-Russia: Avoiding a New Cold War, Session in honor of Michael Intriligator (Panel discussion)

More information available here.


Economists for Peace and Security works to promote non-military solutions to world challenges, and more broadly to work towards freedom from fear and want for all.

 

Fighting the Islamic State

how much will it cost?


by Linda J. Bilmes

OCTOBER 08, 2014

Twelve years ago we stumbled into a war in Iraq with little thought as to how much it would cost or how we might pay for it. Trillions of dollars later, we are about to wade into another protracted conflict, and once again there is no financial strategy.

President Obama and his military top brass have pronounced that the effort to defeat the Islamic State will be "long" - translation: expensive. The Pentagon has admitted to spending over $1 billion so far, with the current pace running at some $10 million per day. Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments believes the annual bill for military operations will range from $4 billion to $22 billion, depending on duration, scope, and the extent to which ground forces get involved - which is becoming increasingly likely. Obama has ruled out sending troops, but it is clear the Pentagon has not given up on boots on the ground - they just may not be worn entirely by Americans.

The experience of Iraq and Afghanistan proves that the price tag may be steep. In addition to the bill for military operations, there are costs associated with veterans' benefits, depreciation of equipment, humanitarian aid, covert action, and paying (as the US frequently does) for the military efforts of our coalition "partners."

Caring for veterans is a major expense, even in a short conflict. In the 1991 Gulf War, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia paid for most of the upfront US military operations - but today the Department of Veterans Affairs pays $4 billion per year in compensation to US veterans of that conflict. For Iraq and Afghanistan, the veterans' costs will be much higher. Fifty percent of the troops who served to date will receive medical and disability benefits for the rest of their lives - amounting to some $1 trillion that the United States owes but has not yet paid.

Read the full article here.