President Bush needs a lesson in economics.

In the same vein as my last entry comes this little ditty from the folks at Think Progress:

Think Progress – Bush: We Can’t Spend $22 Billion On America Because We Need $200 Billion For Iraq War

The Democratic leadership in Congress is set to pass a host of domestic funding bills that would exceed Bush’s request by $22 billion. The extra funding would help go towards veterans health care, infrastructure improvements, education, and other domestic priorities.

Speaking to business leaders at a White House event this morning, Bush railed against the relatively modest increase in spending, arguing that $22 billion is “a lot of money”:

    Some in Congress will tell you that $22 billion is not a lot of money. As business leaders, you know better. As a matter of fact, $22 billion is larger than the annual revenues of most Fortune 500 companies. The $22 billion is only for the first year. With every passing year the number gets bigger and bigger, and so over the next five years the increase in federal spending would add up to $205 billion.

Bush warned that spending increases, which could add up to over $200 billion over five years, would be “taking money out of the pocket” of Americans who need to “pay their mortgages or pay for their children going to college.” Unfortunately, Bush failed to appreciate the irony in his remarks.

While complaining of modest spending increases on much-needed domestic funding priorities, Bush is far less concerned about the impact of spending $200 billion in the next year alone on a disastrous war in Iraq:

    President Bush plans to ask lawmakers next week to approve another massive spending measure — totaling nearly $200 billion — to fund the war through next year, Pentagon officials said.

It shouldn’t take a “CEO President” to figure out that $200 billion is greater than $22 billion.

It’s amazing to me that the man can ask for billions upon billions for the Iraq war without batting an eyelash yet a few more billion to help his fellow Americans is too much to bear. We’re spending $500,000 per minute in Iraq at the moment and Bush and his cronies are mulling over starting another war with Iran as well as trying to figure out how he can force us to stay in Iraq for half a century at the cost of trillions of dollars:

On June 1, during a trip to U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu, Defense Secretary Robert Gates mused about how to “posture ourselves” in Iraq “for the long term.” The Vietnam experience underscored the undesirability of a sudden, abrupt withdrawal. Far better for the U.S. to follow the experiences of post-conflict garrisoning in Korea and Japan, he said: “a mutually agreed arrangement whereby we have a long and enduring presence.” President Bush is reportedly intrigued by the so-called Korea model, wherein the U.S. has guaranteed security on the Korean peninsula with at least four U.S. Army combat brigades for half a century. Indeed, in his speech on Thursday, Bush declared himself ready to build an “enduring relationship” between the U.S. and Iraq.

The study, conducted by the Congressional Budget Office, decided to follow the Korea model to calculate its expense. Since it’s unclear for how long or under what conditions combat operations will ensue, the CBO projects both a combat and a non-combat presence. Both, however, are projected to require 55,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The combat scenario entails one-time costs of $4 to $8 billion, with annual expenses of $25 billion, projected outward. Under the non-combat scenario, a $8 billion one-time cost—mainly for the construction of additional “enduring” bases—would be followed by annual costs of $10 billion or less.

A prior CBO study, released in August, estimated (large pdf) that U.S. costs in Iraq from 2009 to 2017 will total approximately $1 trillion on the assumption of a troop presence of 75,000. On top of that, under the reduced-force combat scenario envisioned in this CBO estimate, the U.S. will spend another $1 trillion by 2057—the lifespan of the U.S.‘s Korean presence to date.

All estimates are in 2008 dollars. Both estimates are arguably conservative. In the combat scenario, for instance, Army units serve 12-month tours, whereas they now serve 15-month tours. In the non-combat scenario, the CBO ratcheted down the Defense Department’s cost-of-war estimates to reflect “lower costs for such items as equipment maintenance, fuel and consumable materials.”

If Bush has his way we’ll be paying the cost of his Presidency for decades to come. The sad part is there’s very few Democrats who are willing to say they’ll end his mess as soon as they get into office.

U.S. Attorney General may be facing perjury charges.

My what a difference a day or two makes. I recall listening to a news item on NPR on the way into work Tuesday about Gonzales’ scheduled grilling at the hands of Congress which pretty much everyone believed wouldn’t actually accomplish much of anything. More than one person, mostly Republicans, rhetorically wondered why the Democrats were insisting on wasting time on such a pointless activity:

“Nobody thinks this is consequential,” Rogers says. “Nobody thinks the attorney general’s job is on the line, so it’s just kind of going to be more of the same, and the Democrats and their sympathizers will have more to snicker about, but nothing will come of it.”

Then on the way home yesterday the news was abuzz with how the Attorney General may very well have perjured himself to Congress:

Specter later circled back to Gonzales on the matter, warning him: “My suggestion to you is you review your testimony to find out if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable,” Specter said. The maximum penalty for being caught lying to Congress is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count. Specter wryly noted to reporters during a break that there is a jail in the Capitol complex.

Last night a statement was released saying that Gonzales stands by the testimony he gave to Congress yesterday which has finally resulted in a call today for a probe of Gonzales for perjury:

WASHINGTON – A group of Senate Democrats called Wednesday for a special counsel to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales perjured himself regarding the firings of U.S. attorneys and administration dissent over President Bush’s domestic surveillance program.

“We ask that you immediately appoint an independent special counsel from outside the Department of Justice to determine whether Attorney General Gonzales may have misled Congress or perjured himself in testimony before Congress,” four Democratic senators wrote in a letter Wednesday, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press.

“It has become apparent that the Attorney General has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements” to the Judiciary Committee, they added.

It’s still too early to tell if this will actually lead up to anything or not, but it’s certainly does my heart some good to see the A.G. getting tripped up in his own repeated lies. It also clearly illustrates why the Democrats are entirely in the right for repeatedly challenging the White House’s insistence that they’ll only allow administration members to testify in private and without swearing an oath. Had the A.G. been able to testify to Congress without being under oath and with no official record kept he probably wouldn’t be in the sticky situation he now finds himself in.

But what really amuses me about this whole mess is the following quote from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

“Reinforcing public confidence in the department is also critical, and will be one of my top priorities as attorney general for the remainder of my term,” Gonzales said in the prepared statement.

“I believe very strongly that there is no place for political considerations in the hiring of our career employees or in the administration of justice,” he said. “As such, these allegations have been troubling to hear. From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations. I would walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems.”

I had to laugh that bitter, cynical laugh that I have when I heard him promise he was going to keep his job in order to restore public confidence DOJ. Surely he must know that he’s the reason the public’s confidence is waining. However, just in case he really is that clueless, allow me to say:

Mr. Attorney General, if you’re truly serious about restoring public confidence then do us all a favor and quit. I realize there’s nothing stopping Bush from appointing someone even more dishonest and inept as you have been to the office, but it’s a chance I think most Americans at this point are willing to take.