The Cost of the War and the Cost of a House in West LA

During last night’s debate, we heard the following two claims:

Edwards: The first Gulf war cost America $5 billion. We’re at $200 billion and counting.

Cheney: With respect to the cost, it wasn’t $200 billion. You probably weren’t there to vote for that. But $120 billion is, in fact, what has been allocated to Iraq.

If one takes Cheney’s “allocated” and put it in Edwards’ statement, while taking “and counting” from Edwards’s statement and put it in Cheney’s statement, what you would have is something closer to the truth: we have spent about $120 billion in cash so far and we plan to spend another $80 billion in the near future. So what did the pundits say? That Edwards got this wrong and Cheney got this right?

I think Jesse Taylor his the right point with this analogy:

200 Billion? The “factchecks” on the $200 billion question don’t make much sense to me. We can’t count the war as costing what it’s going to cost because the money’s been earmarked to be spent, but hasn’t been spent yet. By that standard, my car cost $622.

But isn’t this type of Enron accounting what Bush-Cheney are infamous for. I have not bought a house in west LA yet because the price tags are all over $600,000. But if I can put down $60,000 and forget those pesky monthly payments, we might have a deal.

No wonder Dick Cheney plugged this cite rather than

this one.