The Christian Science Monitor includes a stunning quote from Douglass Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office:
In his testimony Wednesday, Elmendorf pointed out that discretionary funding for 2011 includes $712 billion in defense spending and $566 billion for nondefense items, including education, energy, environment, and veterans’ benefits.
One point of discussion has been the military’s operation and maintenance budget (part of discretionary spending), which includes the wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The extent to which reducing those wars can be included as part of deficit reduction over the next decade is a matter of some dispute. Coincidentally, the amount of budget authority for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since the terrorist attacks of 2001 has totaled $1.2 trillion – the same amount that lawmakers are now trying to cut over the next 10 years. (emphasis added)
It might not be so coincidental. The Bush Administration never put the costs of the two wars in any of its budgets. Obama thought they should be included, and it is those wars that have made the deficit balloon to the extent it has over the last 10 years.
Who cares about who touched whose shoulder in GOP debates? Or who stumbled with answers this time? What makes 89% of the American public not trust that the government will do the right thing are scams like the one Bush pulled off by not accounting for the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars. This has been known for some time. Maybe it will now get the attention it deserves.