CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS DISCUSS IMPACT OF IRAQ WAR ON U.S. ECONOMY, URGE WHITE HOUSE TO REVEAL THEIR COST ESTIMATES

Washington DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joined Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of the Joint Economic Committee today to discuss the impact of the Iraq war on the U.S. economy.  As the war in Iraq moves into its sixth year, there is still no clear end in sight.  Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to suffer the effects of record oil prices, job losses, inflation, and a deepening housing and credit crisis.  It is long past time for the Bush Administration to explain why the $12 billion it spends on a failed war policy every month is more important than the health care, education, housing relief, and infrastructure those resources can provide here at home. 

“President Bush’s mismanagement of the Iraq war and his stubborn refusal to change course have exacted tremendous costs on America ,” Reid said. “The American people deserve a full accounting of what the war has cost in terms of lives, our reputation abroad, our national security abroad and at home, and our economy; and they especially deserve to know the future costs of the Administration’s Iraq strategy going forward.  We call on the Administration to fulfill its obligation and provide the Congress and the public an honest assessment of the current and future budgetary and economic costs of the war in Iraq .”

Said Hoyer: “Millions of American families are hurting.  The Administration must not ignore them – not when it insists we spend billions more in Iraq .  It is time to change policy in Iraq , and devote the attention and resources necessary to turning our economy around.”

“We have always been aware of the high cost of this war in lives lost; but the costs of this war in dollars and cents is also far too high,” Schumer said.  “It is time for this Administration to give an answer to the American people – how much do they think this war will cost?  If they want to disagree with our estimates or with Dr. Stiglitz, fine – they should come and explain why.  But to simply pretend that the costs of the war don’t exist – that’s not acceptable to us or the American people.”

Said Maloney: “The Administration should stop stonewalling and send the President’s economic advisers to Capitol Hill to explain the impact of the Iraq war on our economy.  The American people are only getting half of the story, at best.  The full economic costs of the war – including the economic impact of deficit financing, future care of our wounded veterans, and disruption in oil markets – are running twice as high the enormous federal spending.  ‘Staying the course’ in Iraq threatens to cost the economy more than $3 trillion over the next decade.  By the end of the year we will have over $1 trillion of sunk costs, so without a rapid draw down in troops we face what could be a $2 trillion decision on our future commitment in Iraq .  The Bush Administration owes Congress and the American people a full accounting of the current and future costs of this war.”

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The Economic Opportunity Costs of the War in Iraq

     For ONE DAY of spending in Iraq – we could enroll an additional 155,350 children in Head Start per year; enroll over a million for a week of spending in Iraq; and enroll over 4.7 million for a month in Iraq.

     For ONE DAY of spending in Iraq – we could put an additional 9,100 police officers on the streets per year; hire more than 64,000 for a week’s spending in Iraq; and hire 278,000 for a month in Iraq. 

     For ONE DAY of spending in Iraq – we could make college more affordable for 152,900 students through Pell Grants per year; 1,073,400 more Pell Grants for a week’s spending in Iraq; and over 4.5 million for a month’s funds spent in Iraq.

     For ONE DAY of spending in Iraq – we could help over 155,000 American families to keep their homes with foreclosure prevention counseling this year; for a week in Iraq we could help over a million families; and for a month in Iraq, we could probably erase the foreclosure crisis entirely by helping more than 4.7 million families keep their homes.

     For ONE DAY of spending in Iraq – we could provide health insurance for over 330,000 low-income children through CHIP per year; for a week we could get more than 2.3 million kids into CHIP; and for a month, we could get health care for over 10 million American kids.

     For ONE DAY of spending in Iraq – we could hire another 11,000 Border patrol agents per year; for a week we could put almost 88,000 new border patrol agents on duty; and for a month’s spending in Iraq, we could put more than 337,000 agents on the borders.

ON EVE OF TAX DAY, JEC ANALYSIS REVEALS TAXPAYERS WOULD SAVE OVER $1.2 BILLION WITH FREE E-FILING

Schumer Announces Bill Providing Free Electronic Tax Filing For All Taxpayers Directly With IRS to Save Taxpayers Billion Dollars and Reduce Errors Dramatically from Standard Paper Filing

IRS Agreements with Software Companies Allows Them to Monopolize E-filing Market; Will Prevent IRS from Reaching E-Filing Goal of 80% by this Year

Washington, DC:  On the eve of Tax Day, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a state-by-state analysis revealing that free e-filing would save taxpayers and the federal government billions of dollars and reduces tax return errors dramatically.  Online tax filing is clearly the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient way for Americans to pay their taxes, especially when this year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) projects that 62 percent of the 138 million U.S. taxpayers will file electronically.  However, because the IRS made exclusive deals with private software companies, taxpayers are forced to pay to file their taxes electronically. 

"The bottom line is that the IRS is imposing an additional ‘tax’ on people paying their taxes,” Schumer said. “The current system forces millions of Americans to pay a fee for the ‘privilege’ of filing their taxes, even though e-filing is cheaper for the IRS to process.

The Joint Economic Committee analysis includes a state-by-state breakdown for how much taxpayers spent in 2007 to file their taxes online and also charts the progress of e-filing from 1995-2007.   The JEC e-filing fact sheet can be found here. 

Though filing electronically saves the IRS millions of dollars –fees are imposed on taxpayers to do so; while paper returns which are more expensive for the IRS to process they do not have an additional charge. The IRS made agreements with paid tax preparers and software companies to not offer free filing because the companies were concerned it would hurt their business. In exchange for the IRS staying out of the software business the companies agreed to offer free electronic filing for people whose income is under $54,000. Everyone else has to pay to e-file by going through a third party, even though the e-filing system saves the taxpayer and the government money. Even those who qualify for free filing must go through an incredibly complicated system to e-file and may be pushed into buying other services for additional fees from third party preparers.

“I’m going to introduce a bill that will eliminate the tax on taxes that millions of Americans are now paying, and impose a $50 penalty per offense on any company that charges a tax filing fee to consumers.” Schumer stated. 

Facts about E-Filing:

Free E-filing Saves Money:  Taxpayers can save over $1.2 billion annually in e-filing fees if taxpayers earning more than $52,000 could e-file for free.  For the IRS, there are enormous cost savings from e-filing. While processing each paper return costs $2.50, an e-filed return costs only $0.30.

E-filing Reduces Errors:  The IRS finds roughly 1 error in every 100 returns filed electronically (regardless of whether the return was prepared professionally of self-prepared by the taxpayer), compared to about 1 error in every 5 paper returns.

E-filing Is Easy:  Filing income tax returns electronically also has significant advantages for taxpayers. Filing online is more convenient, return processing is faster, and refunds can be sent out more rapidly.

The JEC e-filing analysis can be found here

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

www.jec.senate.gov
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JEC REPORT SHOWS EXTENDING BUSH TAX CUTS WON’T STIMULATE ECONOMY OR BENEFIT MOST AMERICAN FAMILIES

Unpaid for Tax Cuts Disproportionally Benefit Top 1% of Households Are 100 Times Bigger than Cuts for Middle Class Families and Leave Massive Budget Deficits for Future Generations

During Recession, Discussion Should Focus on Broadly Helping Middle Income Families Immediately, Not Bigger Future Tax Breaks for the Wealthy

Washington, D.C. – Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Vice Chair of the JEC, released a report showing that the Bush tax cuts have not benefitted middle income families and have saddled future generations with tremendous debt.  The Bush tax cuts, which disproportionately benefit the top one percent of households, were initially justified with a series of dubious claims about their economic effectiveness.  But the JEC paper, entitled Extending the Bush Tax Cuts Is the Wrong Way to Stimulate the Economy, shows that the President’s tax policy has done little to stimulate the economy and guard against recession.  The Bush tax cuts have had a negligible or negative impact on annual income growth for the vast majority of U.S. households. 

“While the economy is running on fumes and Americans are losing their jobs, the first and last words out of this administration on economic policy are tax cuts.  Over the last seven years, the Bush tax cuts have benefitted very few at the expense of millions of middle and low income families and future generations.  For the last seven years, the President has had his cake and gotten to eat it too – tax cuts for the top one percent paid for with borrowed money,” Schumer said.  “Democrats want to extend targeted tax relief to the middle class, but permanently extending the Bush tax cuts is not in the cards.”

“The evidence is crystal clear: extending Bush’s tax cuts is the wrong way to stimulate our troubled economy,” Maloney said. “The Bush administration claimed that their tax cuts would drive investment, creating growth in wages and employment, but instead economic performance has been lackluster at best. To make matters worse, the President has mortgaged our children’s future by funding the tax cuts using borrowed money. Democrats in Congress want to target tax relief to families who have not shared in the gains from the Bush economy and are now struggling to make ends meet in the face of an economic downturn. Our plan extends middle-income tax breaks, including the child tax credit and relief from the marriage penalty and the Alternative Minimum Tax.  I hope the President will join us in focusing on measures that would have a real impact on propelling us out of this recession: extending unemployment benefits and stemming the mortgage crisis to keep people in their homes.”

Facts about the Bush tax cuts:
• Through 2008, the government has borrowed $1.6 trillion to pay for the Bush tax cuts.
• Even the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors said he “would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves.”
• In 2007, one third of the total benefits of the tax cuts went to the top one percent of households.
• Approximately 20 percent of total benefits went to 0.3 percent of households earning $1 million or more per year. These households received an average tax cut 103 times larger than that of middle-income households.
• Investment and economic growth since the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts have been lower than average, indicating that the tax cuts have not had strong economic effects.

If the Bush tax cuts were made permanent:
• It would cost the federal government an additional $3.4 Trillion over the next decade, if the funds were borrowed.
• It would cost the government three times more than the amount necessary to close the Social Security funding gap through 2075.

The President’s tax cuts may actually end up reducing low and middle class incomes:
• These tax cuts are financed with borrowed money – a loan from future generations to today’s taxpayers. Depending on how this loan is repaid, the net effect of fully-funded tax cuts would likely reduce most middle class incomes.
• Administration estimates of the long-term impacts of the tax cuts assume that in the long run, tax cuts will eventually be paid for through large cuts in government spending. Unlike the tax cuts, Federal spending provides more income to the middle class than the wealthy.
• If this tax cut-related debt is repaid by across-the-board spending cuts, the after tax income for 75 percent of American households will be reduced. 

The paper can be found here.

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
www.jec.senate.gov

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COAST TO COAST, DECLINING HOME PRICES AND RISING FORECLOSURES WILL COST U.S. FAMILIES OVER $2.6 TRILLION

As Senate Passes Legislation to Address the Housing Crisis and White House Threatens Veto, Analysis by Joint Economic Committee Shows Steep and Ongoing Costs of Housing Crisis  

Washington, D.C. – While the White House has threatened to veto a number of housing bills being debated in Congress, including the recently passed Senate housing bill intended to aid families who are in danger of losing their homes, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released reports showing that the bursting housing bubble could cost over $2.6 TRILLION in household wealth from record numbers of subprime foreclosures and falling home prices.

The state-by-state report was prepared by the majority staff of the Joint Economic Committee and shows that nationally, home prices will decline over 11% from 2007-2009 and families in a majority of states will lose over $2.6 Trillion in housing wealth in that same period.  Moreover, an additional 1.2 million families who took out subprime mortgages stand to lose their homes to foreclosure in 2008 and 2009 alone. 

Schumer said, “The White House continues to ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room – the nation’s foreclosure and housing crisis is the central cause of this recession; and unless we address it quickly, millions of American families will continue to see their economic fortunes decline.  Families stand to lose over $2.6 trillion in housing wealth and in many cases and another 1.2 million families will likely lose their homes.”

The state by state charts can be found at www.jec.senate.gov.

 

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

www.jec.senate.gov

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JEC REPORT REVEALS QUICK EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WOULD EASE PAIN OF RISING UNEMPLOYMENT AND RECESSION

Unemployment Benefits Critical in Helping Families Deal with Three Consecutive Months of Job Losses and 300,000 Total Lost Jobs Since November 2007

Evidence Shows Extension of UI is Prudent Given Previous Economic Circumstances Under Which Benefit Was Extended to the Unemployed

Washington, D.C. – The Joint Economic Committee (JEC), chaired by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, released a report today, requested by Vice Chair Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, calling for the extension of unemployment insurance benefits to combat the contracting labor market.  Friday’s release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report revealed an jump in the unemployment rate and the third consecutive month of job losses for the first time in five years.  With the number of UI beneficiaries exhausting their claims already on the rise and no end in sight to the current economic downturn, the report argues that past Republican obstructionism must be overcome in order to provide extended UI benefits for those in need.

“Labor market conditions are already as bad as or worse than when unemployment insurance benefits were extended in previous recessions, so there is no reason to wait to provide additional benefits to unemployed workers now.  Workers eligible for these benefits lost their jobs through no fault of their own - their plant closed or their employer went out of business because of deepening economic troubles.  Extending unemployment benefits would help families continue spending on basic living expenses and simultaneously provide an extra boost to our weakening economy,” Maloney said.

Schumer stated, “This administration has been whistling a happy tune while jobs have disappeared, home prices have plummeted, and the entire economy is teetering on the brink of recession.  Economists agree that extending unemployment insurance benefits gets the biggest economic bang for the buck in helping workers and their families weather this financial storm.  The bottom line of today’s paper is that extending unemployment insurance is critical and it is long-passed due.” 
 
Evidence is mounting that the employment picture is worse than when Unemployment Insurance (UI) was extended during previous recessions:
• Long-term unemployment is at recession levels and already higher than when Congress extended UI benefits in the 2001 and 1990-91 recessions.
• 1.3 million workers have been out of work and searching for a new job for at least six months.
• Unemployed individuals claiming UI benefits recently rose above 400,000 per week, a level at which economists typically consider the labor market to be in a recession.
• The share of the U.S. population with a job never fully recovered from the 2001 recession and is lower now than it was last time UI benefits were extended.
• The share and number of UI beneficiaries exhausting their benefits is higher than at the beginning of the 2001 and 1990-91 recessions. 
• More than one-in-three unemployed workers (35.6 percent) exhausted their UI benefits last quarter.
• Over 1.3 million workers will exhaust their UI benefits between January and June 2008.
• 10 states and the District of Columbia have exhaustion rates higher than 40 percent (FL, NJ, CA, NE, AZ, NM, NC, CO, LA and IN).

The JEC’s paper suggests three specific ways to expand unemployment insurance:
• Provide extended benefits to workers whose regular unemployment compensation has expired;
• Supplement the amount of benefits paid to unemployment compensation recipients; and
• Modernize the UI system to cover more unemployed workers, including more part-time and low-wage workers.

“I applaud Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid for proposing additional measures to strengthen our economy, and for urging the President to work with Congress to build on the stimulus plan.  We need to come together to solve our nation’s serious economic challenges.  With so many Americans now struggling to find work and get back on their feet, extending unemployment benefits should be a top priority,” Maloney concluded.

The report can be found here.

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
www.jec.senate.gov

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SCHUMER ON PAULSON PLAN AND JACKSON RESIGNATION

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released statements on Monday regarding Secretary Paulson's announced blueprint for overhauling the U.S. financial regulatory system and the resignation of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson:

Schumer on Paulson's Plan:
"This blueprint is a good foundation for updating the regulation of U.S. financial markets. Secretary Paulson is right that unifying our regulatory system is necessary in order to operate more intelligently and efficiently in the globalized financial system. If anything, the Treasury plan does not consolidate redundant agencies enough and a single regulator may be a better approach.  
 
"But certain important pieces are not included in Secretary Paulson's plan. And I strongly disagree with the Treasury Secretary when he says the current regulatory framework is not at fault for the unrest troubling our economy. The unregulated corners of our economy did much to contribute to the meltdown in our housing market and the accompanying spillover to our financial markets. The havoc wrought by independent mortgage brokers, who fueled the housing bubble, and credit ratings agencies, who rubber-stamped securities with no questions asked, certainly fueled the economic crisis we have now. The Administration's 'deregulation-above-all-else' attitude helped cause the problems we now face.
 
"If we focus only on consolidation -- and don't also adopt a careful, but more pro-regulation, approach -- then we will have approached this modernizing task with too much of a pre-Bear Stearns mindset."
 
Schumer on Jackson resignation:

“While he’ll have to work out his problems, I appreciate the hard work Secretary Jackson has put into the fight to save affordable housing in New York."  
 

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

www.jec.senate.gov
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MEDIA ADVISORY:


JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE TO HOLD EMPLOYMENT HEARING ON RELEASE OF NEW MARCH JOBS REPORT
 
JEC to Address New Jobs Report from Bureau of Labor Statistics in Light of Further Deterioration of Economy and Likely Recession


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn Maloney, Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) respectively, will hold a hearing on the newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly employment figures with Commissioner Keith Hall on Friday, April 4, 2008 at 9:30 am in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106.  Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) will preside over the hearing, entitled “The Employment Situation in March 2008.”  In the wake of continued declines in home prices and intensifying credit crisis spreading from Wall Street to Main Street, Dr. Hall will assess recent developments within the labor market.


          WHAT:    Joint Economic Committee Hearing on “The Employment Situation in March 2008”
          WHO:      Dr. Keith Hall, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics              
          WHEN:    Friday, 9:30 a.m., April 4, 2008
          WHERE:  Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106


The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
www.jec.senate.gov
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SCHUMER ON FALLING HOME PRICES AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

 

Today new economic indicators show that the U.S. economy is continuing to falter and not only are home prices still sinking, but consumer confidence is following suit.  The S&P/Case-Shiller index reported the biggest drop in home prices, 11.4 percent in January, since the index was created in 1987, and continuing 19 consecutive months of home price declines.  Virtually no major metropolitan area was left unscathed according to the Case-Shiller analysis for January.  The Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence fell much more than expected as well, going down double digits from February to March. 

 

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee reacted with the following statement about today's weak economic news:

 

"Newfound weakness in consumer confidence is partially the result of 19 months of falling home prices in nearly every single corner of the United States .  For the last year, the President and his Republican allies in Congress have chosen a hands-off, Hoover-like posture towards this housing crisis.  It is long passed time for Washington to act.  Democrats in the Senate will have a modest and targeted housing recovery bill on the floor next week and we hope the White House will work with us to pass it quickly. 

 

“We hope President Bush stops whistling a happy tune about this economy while homeowners and consumers across the country are singing the blues."

 

Sen. Schumer will be holding a JEC hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, on April 2 - details can be found at www.jec.senate.gov.

 

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

 

www.jec.senate.gov

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ON FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IRAQ WAR,
SCHUMER & MALONEY CALL ON PRESIDENT BUSH TO ACCOUNT FOR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ECONOMIC AND BUDGET COSTS
 
Joint Economic Committee Leadership Urges the President to Send Administration Official to Testify at Upcoming Hearing
 
President’s Belittling of Economic Experts’ Estimates of War Costs Should Increase Burden of Administration to Fully Disclose Tremendous War Costs
 
Washington, D.C. – Today, the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee respectively, sent a letter to President Bush urging him to give a full account of the total costs of the war.  Schumer and Maloney called for a productive debate over the economic impact of the war; and they asked the President to make a member of his administration available in the coming weeks to testify at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee to provide Congress and the American people with a “better understanding of the current and future budgetary and economic costs of the war in Iraq.”
 
Referencing the President’s comments today on the “exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war” and claim that “war critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue the war costs too much,” Schumer and Maloney cited the administration’s initial estimates, between $50 and $100 billion, and failure of the administration to offer a full accounting of the war costs to our budget and economy. 
 
A copy of the letter appears below:
 
March 19, 2008
 
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
Dear Mr. President:
 
Today, on the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, we recognize the tremendous efforts of our troops and we are grateful for their service to our country and the sacrifices they and their families have made. Despite our troops’ best efforts in Iraq, there is little progress in setting up an independent government, there is no plan to redeploy our troops, and there has been no indication by your administration of the future commitment and costs to our nation. The American people deserve a full accounting of what the war has cost in terms of lives, our reputation abroad, and our economy; and they especially deserve to know the future costs of your Administration’s preferred Iraq strategy going forward.
 
Today, you marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war by deriding the "exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war," and suggesting that "war critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue the war costs too much.”  Your administration’s initial estimates before the war began were between $50 and $100 billion, far less than the actual or projected costs thus far.  To date, there has been no accounting by your administration of the wars costs to our budget and economy. 
Last year, the Joint Economic Committee prepared a report showing that if your Administration's 2008 funding request is approved, the full economic cost of the war will total $1.3 trillion just by the end of the year. This figure includes the “hidden costs” of deficit financing, the future care of our wounded veterans, and disruption in oil markets. And if the war continues, the costs will only mount higher. In his new book, Professor Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the total economic price tag for the war could reach $3 trillion to $5 trillion over the next decade if we remain in Iraq. That is above and beyond what we've already spent on the war, and it is money that will continue to be diverted from important national priorities.
Your administration has questioned the patriotism and intellectual integrity of those providing war cost estimates.  We can have a debate about the legitimate costs of this war, and there may be disagreements, but no one’s patriotism or integrity should be maligned. A productive debate over the long-term economic impact of the war and its cost to future generations is long overdue.
 
We have respectfully written to your Office of Management and Budget Director, Jim Nussle, to provide our committee with the Administration’s costs estimates for the war, but have not received a response.  We are urging you to make a member of your administration available in the coming weeks to testify at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee to provide the Congress and the public a better understanding of the current and future budgetary and economic costs of the war in Iraq. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Senator Charles E. Schumer                                          
Chairman                                                                            
Joint Economic Committee     
 
 
 
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney  
Vice-Chair
Joint Economic Committee
 
The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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SCHUMER ON THE IRAQ WAR'S 5th ANNIVERSARY
AND ITS BACKBREAKING COSTS

 

On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement praising the troops and questioning the enormous costs of the war to our budget and overall economy:

 
"On the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, this Administration still has no clear exit strategy for our troops, no path to political reconciliation, and no accounting of the costs to our budget or economy.
 
"Despite the good work of our troops, the American people are baffled by the lack of political progress. The case against the war in Iraq has been building for a long time. Too many young American men and women have given their lives, or have suffered terrible, life-altering injuries, with little to show for their sacrifice.
 
"And now, Americans are trying to comprehend the eye-popping dollar figures that this war is costing our budget and our economy. The tremendous cost of this war to families, the federal budget, and the whole economy has become the $800 billion issue the administration refuses to talk about. 
 
"For the amount the Bush Administration wants to spend PER DAY in Iraq, over $430 million we could: put an additional 8,900 police officers on the streets per year; provide health insurance for 329,200 low-income children through CHIP per year; hire another 10,700 Border patrol agents per year; make college more affordable for 163,700 students through Pell Grants per year; and help nearly 260,000 American families to keep their homes with foreclosure prevention counseling this year." - Sen. Charles E. Schumer
 
The Joint Economic Committee issued a report on the costs of the war in Iraq last November and also held the first hearing of 2008 into the economic costs of the Iraq War in February.  You can find the witness testimonies, statements, webcast, and charts by linking to the JEC Hearing on Iraq War Costs.
 
The Joint Economic Committee Cost of War Report (11/2007) also reveals estimates for the war's hidden costs.  The JEC's economic cost estimates were dwarfed by a recent book from Nobel Laureate, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who testified at our hearing last month.  His book, "The Three Trillion Dollar War," estimates that budgetary costs alone could be up to $3 trillion and larger economic costs could reach $5 trillion.
 

 The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
www.jec.senate.gov