NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama's Failed Stimulus Program Cost More Than The Iraq War

August 30, 2010

"The economy is in a shambles because of Bush's economic policies and his war in Iraq."  As American Thinker's Randall Hoven points out, that's the message being peddled by the political Left.  The key point is an alleged $3 trillion cost for the war.   Well, it was expensive to be sure, in both blood and treasure, but, as Hoven notes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) puts the total cost at $709 billion. 

To put that figure in the proper context of overall spending since the war began in 2003, Hoven summarizes and highlights key points from the CBO data: 

  • Obama's stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War -- more than $100 billion (15 percent) more.
  • Just the first two years of Obama's stimulus cost more than the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.
  • Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2 percent of all federal spending while it lasted.
  • Iraq War spending was not even one-quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame. 


  • Iraq War spending was not even 15 percent of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.
  • The Iraq War accounts for less than 8 percent of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).
  • During Bush's Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education than it did on the Iraq War.  

Source: Mark Tapscott, "Little-known fact: Obama's failed stimulus program cost more than the Iraq war," Washington Examiner, August 23, 2010. 


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