Iraq, Congress, Embi discussed on Freakonomics

Freakonomics
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So took a little while for everybody to figure that out but that that was a fictional surplus. Secondly, I never had a single conversation or debate with the house appropriations committee or congress frankly both parties where they were for less spending than I was ever. There were some circumstantial changes. There was that little thing called nine eleven followed by the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and that required some spending that everybody agreed on. But, but you know, wasn't forecast before I went to the National Press Club not too long after that happened. And I talked about you know, what Harry Truman did when he decided we had to engage in the Korean conflict, and what Franklin Roosevelt suggested doing, namely, if you have to spend money on national security emergency you stop spending money. Elsewhere, congress didn't buy it. Well, let me ask you this. You were in charge of of creating forecasts for the cost of a potential war in Iraq. And his I've read you've put that number in the roughly sixty billion dollar range the ultimate cost was actually in the eight hundred billion dollar range, just Iraq. I'm glad you brought it up because we'd been some misunderstanding or and kit. K K -cially some very big misrepresentation of that I'll let chance and I wanna get any corrections. But really the larger question I want to ask is this. It strikes me that a lot of US policy tax policy spending policy. And so on is a result of these sort of accidents of history wars often whether preventable or not I think back to World War Two, and how that changed for many many many many years techs policy in the US. It also changed for many many many years continuing to this day the way our health insurance is set up connected to employers, which was not the case in in. Most other countries was not the case here is I understand it before World War Two. So I guess what I'm asking is. It's a little bit like, you know, the famous Mike Tyson, quote, everybody's got a plan until you get punched in the mouth, and I'm curious to hear your assessment of how your plan stands up in a world where these things do happen and through all the plans out the window. Well, this question let's go back to the front end. Just get that taken care of when the. The president made the decision to go to Iraq. This wasn't in anybody's budget. So there had to be what the it's called a supplemental appropriation Bill. Congress loves these by the way, cause they generally become an opportunity to serve as the Christmas tree and put other things on there. It was a supplemental appropriation for a specified time. The question was how much will it cost to defeat? The Iraqi army and to stay for six months in the night of the planners of the fought was that's all you'd have to be there. You win the war stabilize the situation. Turn it over to somebody leave now, oh, Embi is not war planners. We didn't decide to go to war, and we didn't plan the war. But someone having done that our job was to produce the best estimate. We could the answer that question. It turned out to be pretty darn accurate. In fact, I think it caused a little less than that. If someone had asked what caused the beat the Iraqi army stay for ten or fifteen years while you've gotten a very different. Answer. I argued during the time it'll Embi that natural disasters are going to happen. We have history. And now congress doesn't fund those I said when we every year fund, what looks to be an average amount.

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