The Congressional super committee has until November 23 to produce legislation to curb federal spending by $1.2 to $1.5 trillion over the next ten years — and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could be "juicy targets" for committee penny pinchers, says Nancy A. Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers. Just how much are the wars costing America and what could those titanic expenditures have paid for instead?
Minimum total cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to the Brown University research project Costs of War. "Even small chunks" of that amount "could power many efforts at home," says Robert Johnson at Business Insider.
Cost that figure boils down to per American
Average per capita income in the United States for twelve months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
Amount, per month, on average, the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are costing the U.S., as of late April, according to Defense Department figures
Annual budget of the State Department
Cost of the final shuttle mission in July. NASA could have launched the shuttle "six times for what the Pentagon is allotted to spend each month in those two wars," says Youssef at McClatchy Newspapers.
Annual air-conditioning costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to retired brigadier general Steven Anderson, a former chief logistician for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq
Estimated cost of George W. Bush's 2003 expansion of Medicare prescription drug benefits over 10 years. "The Pentagon spends that in Iraq and Afghanistan in about 40 months," says Youssef.
Amount the debt ceiling agreement calls for the Defense Department to cut over the next ten years
Additional cuts the Pentagon would face if the super committee deadlocks or fails to have its plan approved by Congress. Those cuts are part of a prearranged set of drastic spending cuts that would be automatically triggered if the committee fails to come up with a plan to cut the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion. "This kind of massive cut across the board, which would literally double the number of cuts that we're confronting, would have devastating effects on our national defense," says U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
U.S national debt
Number of U.S. military troops that have died in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press
Number that have died in Iraq since the war began in 2003