by Gary Christenson, Deviant Investor:
In round numbers, these wars (in today’s dollars) were tremendously expensive:
Vietnam War: Estimated cost is $740 Billion
War on Drugs: Estimated cost is $1,000 Billion
War on Terror, including Afghanistan and Iraq: Estimated cost is $1,700 Billion and counting
War on Poverty: Estimated cost is $22,000 Billion
Total estimated war costs – about $25 Trillion. Really? Value received?
The following are my opinions and they are certainly not shared by everyone, so read with that caveat in mind.
In a sensible world a government would declare war, ask citizens to accept higher taxes or use accumulated national savings to pay for the war. In that sensible world, the war would produce a benefit to the country, hopefully in assets, but certainly in less tangible items such as protection of borders and internal security.
So how is the US government doing?
- Vietnam War: Benefits to the United States were difficult to see. The “Red Menace” story and the “Domino Theory” failed to satisfy most people. The war was expensive in dollars and lives. Many people fail to see any good reason for the war other than an excuse for military contractors and bankers to increase profits.
- War on Drugs: Certainly the drug dealers and gangs liked it since it massively increased their profit margins and revenues. Many people were imprisoned so the private prison corporations benefited. Large banks profited from money laundering. But illegal drugs are still prevalent and have not been eliminated.
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