Monetary Costs vs. Social Costs
A substantive response is more than just saying you agree or disagree. Explain why.
Economists view the world differently than many people, including politicians and business leaders. Economists point out that if there are social costs that are not taken into consideration when making policy choices, we may make socially undesirable decisions. For example, Americans overwhelmingly supported the U.S. war in Iraq when it began. Today, many people question that decision. A report by the Congressional Research Service, which is available on this link: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf highlights the cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other operations since 2001. Those costs were almost one-tenth of the overall U.S. public debt. Was it worth it? If so, why have U.S. citizens been unwilling to pay for these added federal expenditures by paying higher taxes? (This is the first time in U.S. history the country has cut taxes in a time of war. Previously, citizens were willing to contribute financially to support the war effort.)
Additionally, the accounting costs of the wars discussed in the Congressional report measure only financial expenditures by the federal government that ultimately must be paid by taxpayers. Are there other costs to society that are not included in such a report? Do you know anyone who has served in the military? How have their lives been affected by these ongoing wars? Many families and friends have lost loved ones or had them return home injured or psychologically altered. Children have endured the absence or loss of a parent. Spouses have suffered from extended deployments. Does this take a toll on society that is not included in the financial report?
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