Sunday, January 15, 2006

When Talk of Guns and Butter Includes Lives Lost

Readers will remember that William Nordhaus is the Yale economist who estimated the potential costs of the Iraq was as $1 trillion at a time when the adminstration was pooh-poohing the estimates of its own in-house chief economist that the war would likely cost in excess of $100 billion. The earlier articles may also be found on this blog.
When Talk of Guns and Butter Includes Lives Lost - New York Times: "Mr. Nordhaus is the economist who put the subject back on the table with the publication of a prescient prewar paper that compared the coming conflict to a 'giant role of the dice.' He warned that 'if the United States had a string of bad luck or misjudgments during or after the war, the outcome could reach $1.9 trillion,' once all the secondary costs over many years were included.
So far, the string of bad luck has materialized, and Mr. Nordhaus's forecast has been partially fulfilled. In recent studies by other economists, the high-end estimates of the war's actual cost, broadly measured, are already moving into the $1 trillion range. For starters, the outlay just for military operations totaled $251 billion through December, and that number is expected to double if the war runs a few more years."

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