Costs of war

The U.S. has spent approximately $1.3 trillion in the past decade on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 1

How Does U.S. War Spending Compare?

  • The U.S. accounted for 41% of total global military expenditure in 2011, followed by China (8.2%), Russia (4.1%), UK and France (both 3.6%) 2

  • U.S. taxpayers spend about 7 times as much on the Pentagon and related military accounts as China spends on its military. 2

  • Iraq and Afghanistan do not even make the list for the top 30 big spenders; Iran is 26th. 2

Impact on U.S. Jobs

The war economy has hindered U.S. job creation. This is because war spending reduces funds available for alternative job sectors and domestic programs. For example, $1 million in military spending creates approximately 8.3 jobs, while $1 million in alternative spending would create 15.5 jobs in public education, 14.3 jobs in healthcare, 12 in renewable technology, and 11.1 in construction. 1

Housing Costs

The average homebuyer had to make $600 more in mortgage payments last year because of the rise in interest rates induced by war borrowing. (Based on a $250,000 home price, 10% down, at 5.00% and 5.35% interest.) 1

Lost Opportunities

The $121.1 billion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2012 alone could have funded…

  • Pell grants worth $5,500 to 21.8 million US college students, or

  • Salaries for 1.7 million police or patrol officers for one full year, or

  • Healthcare for 62.1 million children who are receiving low-income healthcare, or

  • Salaries for 1.8 million elementary public school teachers.

  2. SIPRI Military Expenditure Database