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Linda Bilmes

Linda J. Bilmes is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the  John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She teaches budgeting and public finance.

She served as Chief Financial Officer and as Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 1999-2001. Previously she was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce from 1997-98. She was responsible for a budget of $9 billion, for financial management, and for administration of 45,000 employees.

Previously, she spent 10 years with the Boston Consulting Group, where she focused on industrial finance and public sector industrial policies. Much of her work was in Eastern Europe and Russia, assisting in the privatization process.

Earlier in her career, Bilmes worked as a political campaign consultant for candidates in the United States and Latin America.  She writes and broadcasts regularly on financial and budget issues in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Atlantic and other publications. In 1998 she co-authored Gebt uns das Risiko Zuruck (Give Us Back the Risk), a best seller in Germany. Her current research topics include the cost of the Iraq war, federal workforce reform, and public pension liabilities.  Her forthcoming book (The People Factor, Brookings) is on civil service reform. 



The more-than-$2-trillion war
COMMENTARY | November 01, 2006
Two scholars, one a Nobel Prize winner, revisit their estimate of the true cost of the Iraq war – and find that $2 trillion was too low. They consider not only the current and future budgetary costs, but the economic impact of lives lost, jobs interrupted and oil prices driven higher by political uncertainty in the Middle East.

Total economic cost of the war in Iraq: One to two trillion dollars
ASK THIS | September 21, 2006
The true cost of this war goes well beyond the massive current budget appropriations; it includes lifetime benefits for the wounded, replacement costs for the military, the loss to the families and the communities of the injured and the dead, increased debt, a drag on the economy, higher oil prices and much more.

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