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The Cost of War for TN: About 8 Billion Dollars Spent On Iraq So Far

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May 20, 2008

Nashville, TN – Taxpayers in Tennessee have paid more than $8 billion toward the cost of the Iraq war so far. With gas prices continuing to rise, global food shortages, and a slowed housing market, opponents of the war say those dollars could be better spent at home.

Brian Katsulis, a senior policy fellow with the Center for American Progress, says that in 2007 alone Tennessee taxpayers paid more than $2 billion in Iraq war costs.

"We could have paid for more than 400,000 people to have health care for one year."

Supporters of the Iraq spending bill in Congress say more money is necessary to provide troops with the resources they need to succeed. Katsulis says the way the country has paid for the war has hurt the national bottom line, because this is the first time in American history that such an extended conflict overseas has been combined with repeated domestic tax cuts.

"This is tied to a conservative philosophy of governance that simply is not relevant for the challenges that we face in the 21st century."

He says all that money spent on the war hasn't made America substantially more secure. In addition to health care, he says, the money could be spent here at home on such things as college scholarships and electricity generation. A war-funding bill was voted down in the U.S. House last week; the Senate is to take it up next.

Barbara Dab/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - TN