January 26, 2007

The Cost of the War in Iraq

In April, 2003 an intergenerational team of Niko Matsakis of Boston, MA and Elias Vlanton of Takoma Park, MD created costofwar.com. After maintaining it on their own for the first year, they gave it to the National Priorities Project to contribute to their ongoing educational efforts. If you'll direct your attention to your immediate right, you'll see what we're spending on this war.

The Calculator
Last Revised: September, 2006

To find more information about the cost of the Iraq War, see NPP's latest publication.The Cost of Iraq War calculator is set to reach $378 billion March 31, 2007, halfway through fiscal year 2007. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is occasionally reset based on new information and new allocations of funding. The numbers include military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. Spending only includes incremental costs, additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers' regular pay is not included, but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included.

It is also not clear whether the current funding will cover all military wear and tear. It also does not account for the Iraq War being deficit-financed and that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to those deficits. The media (and others) sometimes cite a figure that is in excess of our estimate. However, the number cited by the media may include the war in Afghanistan and enhanced base security abroad. Our figure is only covering the cost of the Iraq War as it relates to the U.S. federal budget (and does not include costs to others or other countries or any economic impact costs to Americans). This number is based on an analysis of the legislation in which Congress has allocated money for war so far and research by the Congressional Research Service.

An article offered by the Strauss Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information offers greater insight into the problems of truly knowing how much has been spent on the Iraq War or other military operations. Other NPP information on the cost of the Iraq War includes

the NPP Database Trade-offs Page; and the Local Costs of the Iraq War which includes the total cost allocated to date for numerous towns and counties across the country. This list is also more regularly updated with new locations than the list of the C ost of Iraq War calculator. See also

the NPP Charts page which offers comparative cost and casualty information on wars Funding
for the Iraq War has been initiated by the Bush Administration in supplementals (with two exceptions):

FY2003 Supplemental: Operation Iraqi Freedom), made in March 2003, was for $74.8 billion. Passed within a month of the request, the final allocation amounted to $78.5 billion, at least $54.4 billion of which was for the war in Iraq.

FY2004 Supplemental: Iraq and Afghanistan Ongoing Operations/Reconstruction, for $87 billion, was submitted in September 2003 and passed Congress in November 2003. The final allocation amounted to $87.5 billion, of which $70.6 billion was for Iraq.

Budget Amendment: $25 Emergency Reserve Fund (Department of Defense - Iraq Freedom Fund) was made in May 2004 and was passed by Congress as part of the Department of Defense appropriations bill in July 2004. Based on Iraq War spending, of the $25 billion appropriated, about $21.5 billion was for the war in Iraq.

Estimate #1 - Emergency Supplemental (various agencies): Ongoing Military Operations in the War on Terror; Reconstruction Activities in Afghanistan; Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction; and Other Purposes - 2/14/05 was made in February 2005 and passed by Congress in April 2005. The final allocation amounted to $82 billion, of which about $58 billion was for the Iraq War.

Department of Defense appropriations for fiscal year 2006 (i.e. war funding not initiated by a supplemental request) included $50 billion in a 'bridge fund' for war funding. Based on past Iraq War spending, approximately $40 billion of that can be counted for the Iraq War.

Estimate #3—FY 2006 Emergency Supplemental (various agencies): Ongoing Military, Diplomatic, and Intelligence Operations in the Global War on Terror; Stabilization and Counter-Insurgency Activities in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Other Humanitarian Assistance—2/16/06 was for $72.4 billion, of which about $60 billion war for the Iraq War.

Department of Defense appropriations for fiscal year 2007: War funding was initiated by a "placeholder" of $50 billion in the administration's budget released in February. Congress passed $70 billion in a 'bridge fund' for both Afghanistan and Iraq. We have included $59.5 billion of that for the Iraq War.

Please note that the Department of Defense was also permitted by legislation to transfer funds from other operations (peacetime, Afghanistan, etc.) to the Iraq War, and so estimating war costs based on Congressional legislation is not enough.

Comparative Costs Until the calculator's coding is revised, the numbers used are national and not state specific. For state specific numbers, please visit the NPP Database Trade-offs page.

Head Start

We calculated cost per child numbers for each state based on state numbers from the Administration of Children and Families' Head Start Bureau for 2003. These numbers have been adjusted for inflation to provide a 2004 estimate.

Children's Health Care
The state numbers are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Data Compendium. They represent the average Medicaid outlays per child in each state for 1999 and 2000, and then are forecasted for 2004.

Affordable Housing
The number for each state is based on Census 1990 and 2000 housing values. We have taken the average of the median and lower quartile values, and forecasted for 2004. This may be a fairly rough estimate of what is would cost to build affordable housing, but does constitute a good estimate of an inexpensive housing unit in each state.

Elementary School Teachers
Each state's number is based on the average amount of annual pay an elementary school teacher receives, plus 25% for other expenses associated with employment such as benefits. These numbers were forecasted for 2004 from data for 1999 through 2003 from the Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.

Four-Year College Scholarships
The number for each state is based on the cost of tuition and fees at that state's flagship university for the 2003-2004 academic year. Data on tuition and fees are available at the National Center for Education Statistics' College Opportunities On-Line (COOL). The national figure is an average of all the states.

World Hunger
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2003 estimates that over 800 million people worldwide are hungry and undernourished. The FAO has also stated that an annual increase of $24 billion in anti-hunger efforts would reduce world hunger by half (to 400 million people) by 2015.

AIDS Epidemic
In remarks to the World Bank on November 20, 2003, Dr. Peter Piot, the executive director of UNAIDS, spoke of the need for "a minimum $10 billion needed annually to mount an effective, comprehensive response in low- and middle-income countries." In reporting to the UN General Assembly in September, 2003, on the proceedings of the high-level interactive panel on HIV/AIDS, Secretary-General Kofi Annan also spoke of the "$10 billion required annually by 2005 to stem the tide of AIDS."

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has estimated the additional monies needed to immunize every child in the developing world at $2.808 billion annually. The report (Table 8) calculates that 3 million children die annually from vaccine preventable diseases. To account for inflation and provide a margin for error, the Cost of War calculator uses a figure of $3 billion to calculate the number of years that the war in Iraq could pay for the immunization of all children in the developing world.

State and City Calculations
We calculated each state's share of taxes paid into federal funds revenues (based on IRS data). This includes individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, excise, gift and estate taxes. Each state's share of taxes was then multiplied by the total amount of the war.
The city and county calculations are based on the population and median household income of the city relative to the state. For more cities and counties, go to NPP's Local Costs of War

No comments: