Opportunity Costs 101

In the Times today, economic reporter David Leonhardt has a good, pithy treatment of what the $1.2 trillion we’ve spent on Iraq could have been spent on instead. (Matt Ylgesias did a similar piece last July).

It’s a funny thing about the conservative proponents of the Iraq war that in other contexts they are the first to raise the spectre of opportunity costs and the unintended consequences of policy choices. Want to raise the minimum wage? It’ll cost jobs. Want to provide universal health care? It’ll mean people become profligate in their use of doctors. Somehow, though, that logic stops at the war’s edge, where money is simply no object, and suddenly there are no opportunity costs.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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