Pres. Bush has vetoed a bill appropriating $606 billion for domestic needs while simultaneously approving $471 billion for defense spending. Then he had the nerve to accuse Congress of "acting like a teenager with a new credit card." This, from a man who has asked Congress, over the last five years, for $900 billion in war-related spending. And on the same day that Democrats in Congress released a report that put the real price tag of the U.S. ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan so far at about 1.6 trillion dollars -- twice as much as the White House estimate.
That huge discrepancy is explained by the war's "hidden costs" [emphasis mine]:
The report, obtained by The Associated Press and scheduled to be released Tuesday, attempted to put a price tag on the two conflicts, including "hidden" costs such as interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars, lost investment, the expense of long-term health care for injured veterans and the cost of oil market disruptions.
The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said. The Bush administration has requested $804 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, the report stated.
There's also the cost in lost productivity:
The report argues that war funding is diverting billions of dollars away from "productive investment" by American businesses in the United States. It also says that the conflicts are pulling reservists and National Guardsmen away from their jobs, resulting in economic disruptions for U.S. employers that the report estimates at $1 billion to $2 billion.
There's more. Projecting these costs forward, the report puts the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at a mind-boggling 3.5 trillion dollars by 2017.
The last word goes to David Obey, quoted at Prairie Weather:
"The same president who is asking us to spend another $200 billion on the misguided war in Iraq and is insisting on providing $60 billion in tax cuts next year to folks who make over a million bucks a year is now refusing to provide a $6 billion increase to crucial domestic investments in education, health care, medical research and worker protections that will make the country stronger."