Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nettlesome numbers

Even if numbers bore most people, it is important to get ones head around some of the taxpayer money wasted by the quagmire in Iraq.

A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that Iraq will generate $86 billion this year from oil revenues.

The box on the left shows the amounts allocated in the budgets for stabilization, electricity, security and water resource development in Iraq. It is indeed striking that while similar amounts were allocated (~$30 billion) by both Iraq and America, we have managed to spend 70% of our taxpayer money on Iraqi infrastructural development while Iraq (who is already flush with $86 billion this year from oil revenues) has spent only a little over 10% of its own money. Why are we even financing their reconstruction when they have the money to do this?

A final bit of sobering news is that the Iraq war is costing approximately 12 billion taxpayer dollars a month according to Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz.

Image from the today's New York Times newspaper.

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