In the 10 years since the beginning of the Iraq war, the costs of war have been compared to the benefits of freedom at a near constant rate. Thanks to its large-scale impact on the country's federal debt, it's a debate with no end in sight.

The Iraq war has so far cost the U.S. about $800 billion -- not including continuing payments to veterans -- and it’s poised to be major driver of the deficit for years to come. Add to that the costs of the Afghanistan war and the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, and you'll account for almost half of the debt that the nation is set to owe by 2019, according to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.

(THE CHART BELOW HELPS EXPLAIN WAR-DEBT RELATIONSHIP)

Over the past few years, lawmakers have been wrangling over the best way to cut the deficit and curb its growth. Some proposals include cutting spending on social safety net programs, while others have called for a boost in taxes. The CBPP analysis indicates that without the Iraq War, lawmakers might have had some more wiggling room before being forced to make such tough choices.

As a Tuesday editorial in the Boston Globe notes:

The United States spent $800 billion in Iraq, not counting our ongoing obligations to veterans. That’s roughly the amount of this year’s federal budget deficit, which is causing such angst and gridlock on Capitol Hill. It is impossible to fight two resource-sapping wars at the same time, and not feel the pinch on Medicare and education.

And just because the war is over doesn’t mean that it’s done costing America money or pushing the U.S. further into debt. Continued costs of the war are expected to total between $4 and $6 trillion, according to MarketWatch. That’s about $80 billion per year for the next 50 years, or the same amount the U.S. spends each year on the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Check out CBPP's chart on what's driving the deficit below:

iraq war us debt

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • 10. United Technologies

    Arm sales 2011: $11.6 billion Total sales 2011: $58.2 billion Total profit: $5.3 billion Total employment: 199,900 Sector: Aircraft, electronics, engines United Technologies makes a wide range of arms — notably military helicopters, including the Black Hawk helicopter for the U.S. Army and Seahawk helicopter for the U.S. Navy. The company was the most profitable of all companies on this list, making more than $5.3 billion in 2011. It was also the largest company on this list by headcount, employing nearly 200,000 people worldwide as of 2011. Arms comprised just 20% of the company’s $58.2 billion in sales in 2011. Other products made by United Technologies include elevators, escalators, air-conditioners and refrigerators. International sales comprised 60% of the company’s total revenue in 2012. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 9. L-3 Communications

    Arm sales 2011: $12.5 billion Total sales 2011: $15.2 billion Total profit: $956 million Total employment: 61,000 Sector: Electronics Some 83% of L-3 Communications sales in 2011 came from arms sales, totaling just over $12.5 billion. This was down, however, from about $13.1 billion in arms sales in 2010. The company has four different business segments: electronic systems; aircraft modernization and maintenance; national security solutions; and command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Among many products manufactured, the company has become a major provider of unmanned aircraft systems. In 2011, the company turned a profit of $956 million and employed approximately 61,000 people. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 8. Finmeccanica

    Arm sales 2011: $14.6 billion Total sales 2011: $24.1 billion Total profit: $-3.2 billion Total employment: 70,470 Sector: Aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, military vehicles, missiles, small arms/ammunition Italian company Finmeccanica makes a wide range of arms, including helicopters and security electronics. Of the company’s nearly $24.1 billion in sales in 2011, 60% were in arms. Finmeccanica lost $3.2 billion in 2011. The Italian company is currently fending off allegation that it paid bribes to win an approximately $750 million contract to provide 12 military helicopters to the Indian government back in 2010. The then-head of the company, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in February but has denied wrongdoing. Other executives, including the head of the company’s helicopter unit, have been replaced, and the company has delayed the release of recent financial results until the situation is resolved. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 7. EADS

    Arm sales 2011: $16.4 billion Total sales 2011: $68.3 billion Total profit: $1.4 billion Total employment: 133,120 Sector: Aircraft, electronics, missiles, space The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), based in the Netherlands, had $16.4 billion worth of arms sales in 2011, roughly in line with 2010. Arms sales, however, comprised just 24% of the company’ entire sales, which totaled about $68.3 billion in 2011. EADS and BAE Systems attempted to merge for $45 billion in 2012, which would have created the world’s largest aerospace company. However, the deal collapsed in October after German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concern that the new company would marginalize the influence of the German government and would focus decision making in France and the U.K. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 6. Northrop Grumman

    Arm sales 2011: $21.4 billion Total sales 2011: $26.4 billion Total profit: $2.1 billion Total employment: 72,500 Sector: Aircraft, electronics, missiles, ships, space Like many of the companies on this list, Northrop Grumman makes a wide range of arms, including unmanned systems; air and missile defense radars; and critical incident response systems. In 2011, Northrop Grumman reported about $21.4 billion in arms sales, comprising 81% of the company’s $26.4 billion in total sales. But arms sales in 2011 declined from $28.2 billion in arms sales in 2010, after growing by $3.5 billion between 2007 and 2010. The company attributed the decline to reduced government spending on defense projects. Nevertheless, the company reported a profit of more than $2.1 billion in fiscal 2011, slightly better than the company’s earnings the previous year. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 5. Raytheon

    Arm sales 2011: $22.5 billion Total sales 2011: $24.9 billion Total profit: $1.9 billion Total employment: 71,000 Sector: Electronics, missiles Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., is one of the largest defense contractors in the U.S. The company makes a wide range of defense products, including missiles such as the Tomahawk Cruise Missile. Arms sales totaled about $22.5 billion in 2011, comprising about 90% of the company’s total sales that year. However, these sales were down slightly from the $23 billion in arms sales in 2010.The slide hasn’t let up. Total sales in 2012 fell 1.5%, and Raytheon is expecting sales to fall 3% in 2013, a projection which doesn’t take into account the effects of sequestration on the company. Fortunately, the company can rely on overseas customers to somewhat offset weak sales at home. As of January, approximately 40% of the company’s backlog was booked overseas. The company expects approximately a 5% increase in international sales in 2013. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 4. General Dynamics

    Arm sales 2011: $23.8 billion Total sales 2011: $32.7 billion Total profit: $2.5 billion Total employment: 95,100 Sector: Artillery, electronics, military vehicles, small arms/ammunition, ships With 18,000 transactions worth $19.5 billion in 2011, General Dynamics was the third-largest contractor to the U.S. government. Of those contracts, approximately $12.9 billion worth went to the Navy, while an additional $4.6 billion went to the Army. The company reported just under $23.8 billion in arms sales in 2011, comprising 73% of the company’s total sales. Arms sales in 2011 were slightly below 2010 levels. The company employs approximately 95,000 workers worldwide and makes a host of products, including electric boats, tracked and wheeled military vehicles, and battle tanks. The company has expressed concern about the potential effects on U.S. military budgets due to sequestration, issuing layoff notices this week. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 3. BAE Systems

    Arm sales 2011: $29.2 billion Total sales 2011: $30.7 billion Total profit: $2.3 billion Total employment: 93,500 Sector: Aircraft, artillery, electronics, military vehicles, missiles, small arms/ammunition, ships BAE Systems was the largest non-U.S. company based on arms sales, bringing in $29.2 billion worth in 2011. This represented 95% of the company’s total sales that year. Yet 2011’s arms sales were lower than 2010′s, when the company sold $32.9 billion worth of arms. The products that BAE sells include the L-ROD Bar Armor System that shields defense vehicles, and the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer that provides sophisticated simulation training for military pilots. In 2013, the company said its growth would likely come from outside the United States and Great Britain — its home market. BAE noted that its outlook for those two countries was “constrained,” likely due to the diminished presence in international conflicts and government budget cuts. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 2. Boeing

    Arm sales 2011: $31.8 billion Total sales 2011: $68.7 billion Total profit: $4.0 billion Total employment: 171,700 Sector: Aircraft, electronics, missiles, space Boeing was the second-largest U.S. government contractor in 2011, with about $21.5 billion worth of goods contracted that year. The Chicago-based company makes a wide range of arms, including strategic missile systems, laser and electro-optical systems and global positioning systems. Despite all these technologies, just 46% of the company’s total sales of $68.7 billion in 2011 came from arms. Boeing is the largest commercial airplane manufacturer in the world, making planes such as the 747, 757 and recently, the 787 Dreamliner. The company is also known for its space technology — Boeing had $1 billion worth of contracts with NASA in 2011. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>

  • 1. Lockheed Martin

    Arm sales 2011: $36.3 billion Total sales 2011: $46.5 billion Total profit: $2.7 billion Total employment: 123,000 Sector: Aircraft, electronics, missiles, space Lockheed Martin notched $36.3 billion in sales in 2011, slightly higher than the $35.7 billion the company sold in 2010. The 2011 arms sales comprised 78% of the company’s total 2011 sales of $46.5 billion. As of 2011, the company employed 123,000 people worldwide. In the company’s aerospace and defense unit, Lockheed makes a wide range of products, including aircrafts, missiles, unmanned systems and radar systems. The company and its employees have been concerned about the effects of both the fiscal cliff and sequestration, the latter of which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense. In the fall of 2012, the company planned on issuing layoff notices to all employees before backing down at the request of the White House. <a href="http://247wallst.com/2013/03/06/ten-companies-profiting-most-from-war-2/#ixzz2N4THJtLU">Read more at 24/7 Wall St. </a>