U.S. stimulus to cost more than Iraq, Afghan war so far

January 30, 2009

US/WASHINGTON – Republican critics of the Democratic-backed landmark stimulus package are pointing out that its 800-billion-dollar-plus price tag would — “in one fell swoop,” as Republican Representative Todd Akin put it — consume more resources than have been laid out for two wars, so far.

The Pentagon says the United States has committed $524.6 billion to the nearly six-year-old conflict in Iraq and $120.9 billion to the fighting in Afghanistan since 2001.

“I almost have to pinch myself, gentlemen, to think that just standing here a couple of hours ago, we just voted to spend $800 billion, more than the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Republican Akin declared Wednesday after the House of Representatives passed the stimulus without a single Republican vote in favor.

“Can our economy handle that?” he asked.

For years, Democratic opponents of the war in Iraq have questioned its cost and the fact that the 2003 invasion under the Republican Bush administration and the occupation that followed were done on borrowed money, adding to U.S. debt that ultimately must be paid by taxpayers.

Now Republicans, who largely supported the Iraq war, are trying to turn the tables on their Democratic critics and ask whether it is wise to borrow as much cash again all at once, taking on even more interest costs. “I know the Bush administration was savaged for the money that’s spent on the war in Iraq,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, said this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, dismissed Republican criticism that the package was too big, saying he had also consulted with Republicans who said “the package was too small” to get the economy moving again.

But Sessions said: “We’re talking about the largest spending bill in the history of the republic.” He cited Congressional Budget Office estimates that the  stimulus could cost $347 billion in interest on the national debt over the next decade, if none of its costs are offset.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing(House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer speaks next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the economic stimulus package on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 28.

For more Reuters political news, click here.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I wonder how the country would be doing if used all the money we’ve spent in Iraq on domestic programs? Or if we’d concentrated on Afghanistan where the terrorists actually were instead of going to Iraq where they weren’t. Thoughts anyone?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Yeah. The mistake all liberal democrats make is to think “only” concentrating on domestic programs will solve all the our ills. So, to answer your question. We would be doing very badly. The terrorists would most certainly have tried to attack this nation again. Likely killing thousands more in other attacks as devestating as 9/11.

The terrorists attacked us here and around the world many times during the Clinton administration. Bush didn’t play any games, he went after the terrorists and those that supported them.

Thank goodness we kept the terrorist fight over there. An added benefit is that the people there are better off than they were eight years ago. So are we, we are still free to spar over issues like this.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

it is remarkable watching the democratic elections taking place in iraq.it must be very difficult for harry reed after his stupid comments recently.perhaps we should ask them if they can monitor our elections,the dye on the finger would certainly be helpful over here, coleman would be sworn in now.for your benefit ERIC H,very difficult to vote a second time with dye already on the finger.

Posted by bria lee | Report as abusive

Oh I see the problem here TC, you’re one the few who still believes that Iraq was connected to 9/11. Bush himself has said there was no connection.
You are also wrong in saying that “liberal Democrats” want to spend money only on domestic programs. Maybe you missed the part where I said we should have concentrated on Afghanistan, you know, where there actually were training camps, where Bin Laden was hiding and where there is cross border support from Pakistan. Your second mistake was lumping all who disagree with you into one “liberal Democrat” group. I am a registered Dem but only because my state requires that you be registered in a party to participate in the caucus, otherwise I’d be an Independent. I have voted for Republicans in the past just not at the presidential level.

Brian, you are right in that watching a free election in Iraq is remarkable but I think we could have gotten there without an invasion and without spending the money we have dumped into Iraq. Some of which can’t even be accounted for and some that we know was wasted, stolen or lost. As far as the MN senate race, Coleman lost. The recount was conducted by the state with more scrutiny than most national elections around the world so get over it.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Eric. You are a master at forming an opinion based on 20/20 hindsight. But that doesn’t make you right, just someone who isn’t a leader, but rather a follower.

Also, it doesn’t matter what you “think” might have happened in Iraq if we hadn’t invaded (a war democrats and republicans voted for with passion). You can only guess and that really isn’t relevant to anything. However, I also believe you are wrong. But who cares, they are free now and living better than they have in the decades since Saddam ruled with an iron fist.

It is convenient to take what has happened and appear to make it fit your arguement, but my original answer stands. Afterall, you asked and I obliged you by answering your question.

You are like Obama, now that Iraq is proving a success, you go back to Afghanistan to find fault. Once again, you are a follower and not a leader.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

eric we are in an age that believe truth is irrelevant,10 years ago the argument was on the interpretation of “IS”.after listening to the lame excuses from the nominees i am sure ‘IS’ no longer exsists. today i saw with my own eyes the meaning to the saying THE TRUTH FLEW OUT THE WINDOW.kerry the sage of misinformation opened the window and it was gone.how can any fair minded person not watch the eyes these dem politicians as the seem to get narrower by the day,and obama talked open eyed change.i don,t know how old you are eric,but the dem trend setters at woodstock, tears would be running down their painted faces,if they saw what was going on now in their party.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Let’s see, Woodstock, I was about three years old, I know some of those old hippies they are very optimistic about the new administration and excited about the passing of the old one, not a tear in sight.
Truth- Brian I can’t believe you have the nerve to use that word after watching Bush/Cheney for the last eight years. Weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake from Africa, Department of Justice firings, Iraq and 9/11, outing Valerie Plame and trying to destroy her husbands reputation, any of this ring a bell?

TC I was opposed to the Iraq war from the beginning, the “evidence” just didn’t fly with me enough to justify a full on invasion. Not to mention that Saddam was one of those iron fisted dictators that we helped put in power and supported for years before he stopped co-operating. It’s a pattern that repeats through out history. Shah of Iran, Pinocet, Noriega, Marcos just to name a few. I was however fully behind the war in Afghanistan and saw Iraq as a distraction and drain on resources that we needed to finish the job in Afghanistan. This was what I thought at the time not hindsight. The intel at the time of the vote to go to Iraq was the only thing that Congress had to go on so I’m not surprised that they voted for the war but I wasn’t buying it, a lot of us weren’t. Saddam was way to decadent and Western to be in tight with Bin Laden, people who had been paying attention knew this. Had you even heard of Al Queda before 9/11?

I have no illusions about Obama, he’s a politician. What I’m optimistic about is a change in policy that clearly has not been working. Yes there has been a swing in Iraq and yes the surge proved to be a success, but the original light and fast “we’ll be greeted as liberators” Rumsfield/Bremmer plan was a disaster and most of the international community was not behind us.

It does matter what I and others think TC because thinking is what separates the leaders from the followers. As I see it you and Brian are the sheep that followed a lost shepherd. Ball is your court brother.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Eric. Actually, not much needs to be said at all. You can go and read all the posts from people who “were” Obama supporters but now are seeing him as not being that “agent of change” you all bought in to.

Yeah, looks like that change you believe in really is a fairy tale. Hope you sleep well.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

I do not agree with the way this war was handled, nor am I a big fan of Mr. Bush. I believe the money wrongly spent in this war could have been used for, say, tax relief and maybe a slightly bigger 2008 stimulus check for Mr. John Q. Taxpayer(that would have worked). Obama unfortunately looks to be starting a war himself, only its a war that is Spending Vs. U.S Budget.

Big spending has never been proven to work in ANY economic recession or depression. FDR’s spending did very little while tax relief coupled with WW2’s income started the lift out of the Depression, but wasn’t the only factors. The 2009 Congressional Stimulus Bill will do a little positive effect for about a year tops. However, the long term financial effect of tripling the U.S defecit is astoundingly bad. No ‘pork’ should have been aloud in that bill AT ALL. Neither should the ‘feel good’ investments in alternative energy, AIDS cure, STD research, etc., but of course they were right in there. I believe those things should be in a seperate bill when the economy is STABLE again, but not in a stimulus. I’ll finish by saying this, the Iraq War costs us 860 billion to a trillion by the end. This stimulus bill’s end effect will be triple that, and Obama has three years and a hanful of months to spend more.

Posted by Kenny | Report as abusive

OK budget expenses, you refused personal info. Post this because I surely will on my multiple TOP 10 site: What is the total cost of all COLA’s Congress took from 1980 thru Jan. 2010?
What significance would these funds have if used elsewhere?!*

Posted by Chas.A.Graves | Report as abusive

OK, here is the list for your edification. I’l only leave the salary increases from 911 to 09. How many members of Congress are there? 535? >500 anyway.

2001 — $145,100 per annum
500 x $145,100 = $72,550,000.oo plus uncounted.

2002 — $150,000 per annum = $75,000,000.oo

2003 — $154,700 per annum = $77,360,000.oo

2004 — $158,100 per annum = $79,050,000.oo
2005 — $162,100 per annum = $81,050,000.oo

2006 — $165,200 per annum = $82,060,000.oo

2007 — $165,200 per annum = $82,060,000.oo

2008 — $169,300 per annum = $84,650,000.oo

2009 — $174,000 per annum = $87,000,000.oo
st connsidering this vastly < total Congress,
raises for the 500 are just under $14.5 Million
Another 35 members add another $1 M 1.1 M
Only once did our patriotic leaders not
accept another pc of the pie.

Posted by C.A.G. | Report as abusive

[…] commentary last night on the radio and then looked up a few articles regarding the stimulus scam.  Reuters backed up the host’s […]

Posted by U.S. Stimulus Cost More Than Iraq War &laquo; The Jaded Swine | Report as abusive

[…] we did in fort hood a terrorist attack the stimulus cost us more than both wars as these links show U.S. stimulus to cost more than Iraq, Afghan war so far | Front Row Washington Obama's failed stimulus program cost more than the Iraq war – Digg PolitiFact | Did the […]

Posted by Who is to really blame for this mess? real poll? &#8211; Page 3 &#8211; US Message Board &#8211; Political Discussion Forum | Report as abusive