$2.4 trillion and counting 

Shall we check the numbers again on George W's misbegotten war? For today, let's leave aside such depressing counts as the ever-rising numbers of dead and mangled, and just focus on the dollars he's dumping into his foreign hostilities.

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan entity, recently reported that, as of now, Bush & Co.'s badly bungled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost us $2.4 trillion by the year 2017, counting such ongoing costs as veterans' health care. The vast preponderance of that is chargeable to the Iraq debacle. But, gosh, how much is $2.4 trillion anyway? It's impossible for my small brain to get hold of a number that big.

So think of it this way. It comes to $8,000 for you, $8,000 more for your spouse and $8,000 for each of your children. In fact, it comes to $8,000 for every one of America's 300 million people. Maybe you can think of other things on which you and your family would rather spend $8,000 apiece than Bush's war.

But that's the happy part of George W's war-mongering: We don't have to pay for it! Instead, he has generously put the whole thing on the national credit card so your kids, grandkids and great-grandkids will foot the bill. Indeed, the interest payments alone on this $2.4 trillion debt will tally more than $700 billion during the next 10 years.

Wait isn't this the same George W who's charging Congress with fiscal irresponsibility for passing a law to extend health coverage to millions of America's children? I wonder if he knows how much health care $700 billion would buy?

Bush is a spendaholic, and he won't stop. What we have to do is to pressure members of the Democratic Congress, demanding that they finally use their power of the purse to stop him for us. Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale now from Viking Press. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.


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