Mar 19, 2008

What does the war in Iraq cost American$?

First..a list of all of the Blogswarm Participants can be found here..but bring your lunch..its a grand list :)

In dollars and cents the United States has spent roughly $522 Billion, with at least $70 Billion allocated for the beginning of this year alone.

As an aside, what could all that money buy us as taxpayers? What else could we of spent that money on here in America that we desperately need? Try these numbers on for size:

With just the amount of the Iraq budget of 2007, $138 billion, the government could instead have provided Medicaid-level health insurance for all 45 million Americans who are uninsured. What's more, we could have added 30,000 elementary and secondary schoolteachers and built 400 schools in which they could teach. And we could have provided basic home weatherization for about 1.6 million existing homes, reducing energy consumption in these homes by 30 percent.

Another use for Iraq War money could be to pay down the federal deficit. The federal deficit in 2007 (the year, not the budget year) was $244 billion. If we ended the Iraq War and used the fiscal savings to cut that horrendous deficit we could reduce it by 57 percent. But we know that will not happen until 2009 at the earliest, so the deficit keeps moving ever upwards, but I digress.

The War Profiteers are getting fat and happy off federal government contracts, but here in the United States, we are looking a recession straight in the eye. In fact, the total dollar value of all federal government contracts, with regard to Iraq, handed out since the war began is staggering. Just look at these numbers starting in late 2006:

Value of ALL Contracts Since Tracking Began on October 30, 2006: $306,196,099,735

Yes, my dear reader, that is in billions. has recorded a total of 4,046 publicly-reported defense contracts, just since October 2006. To date, that is an average of $1,008 for every member of the US citizenry. And the key word there is publicly-reported. Another factor to consider is that not all that money stays in the United States. Not all contractors are corporations on American soil.

Another troubling fact regarding federal contracts is the method in which they are awarded:

Most of the Iraq reconstruction contracts have been awarded through a particular type of troubled contracting vehicle, the Orwellian-sounding "Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity" (IDIQ). IDIQs allow the government to award an unspecified amount of future work to approved contractors. Once companies get on this list of approved contractors, they do not have to compete for work, nor is that future work ever publicly announced.

Not only are these IDIQ contracts never publicly announced, their dollar value is usually hidden from the public and Congress:

An IDIQ contract, which is made up of task and delivery orders, does not define a firm quantity of services or goods that the government needs. It is not until goods or services are required that the government places an order. The General Accounting Office stated that those types of contracts "were not attaining the level of competition Congress had initially envisioned." For example, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and Bechtel have received task and deliver orders worth billions. Those task and delivery orders fall below the procurement radar screen and are not open for bidding or available to Congress or the public.

Our government also continues to award contracts to companies that violate federal laws and regulations during the course of fulfilling their contracts. What this means is they cheat us, as an example, by over-billing or providing shoddy equipment among other things. A short list of these contractors:

Iraq reconstruction contracts that have been awarded to contractors with problematic contracting track records, include:

Lockheed (84 incidences of misconduct);

Northrop Grumman (36 incidences of misconduct);

Fluor (15 incidences of misconduct);

Computer Sciences Corporation/DynCorp (9 incidences of misconduct),

Bechtel (6 incidences of misconduct);

SAIC (5 incidences of misconduct)

By continuing to award contracts to unethical companies, the government is rendering its own laws, established for the protection of the taxpayers, toothless. See .POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.

The citizens of the United States are worse off since George Bush took office and the war in Iraq began. But the Corporations are much better off. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy my dear reader?

I didn't think so..

Crossposted at UnCapitalist Journal

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