Topic: "Numbers Don't Lie" (3)
"Ms. Used-to-be-Tony Snow, now Dana Something-or-other, I have a question."
"You again, Mr. Frodo, crack reporter for the 'Shire Ledger'?"
"What is it this time?"
"Well, I've taken note of your verbal assault on the credibility of the Democratic Party announcement of their assessment of the actual costs associated with the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."
"And you disagree with the President's accounting of $864 Billion I assume?"
"Oh no, who am I to question the mathematical wizardy of a graduate of both Harvard and Yale? Note that I am but an alumni of the virtually unknown College of the Shire. Although I also have no reason to question the $1.5 Trillion estimated by the Democratic analysts, I am prepared to acknowledge the President's figures for what they are. It's just that it confuses me, and I need some assistance, and that's what I was hoping you could help me rectify?"
"I'll do my best."
"I know you will (Frodo returned the perky little smile to the perky little Press Secretary, Dana Something-or-other)."
"What's your confusion?"
"Well, let me see if I can summarize. When George W. Bush became President of the United States, wasn't it true that the cumulative spending deficit which he inherited was just about $5 Trillion and change?"
"I don't have the exact figures here."
"I know, but don't you agree that in round terms, not too far from what I just said?"
"In rounded numbers, pretty close."
"Okay, and as of now, with a little more than one year left in the President's second term, the total deficit is now just about $9 Trillion, isn't it?"
"Okay, I see where you're going with this, and as I've said many times before, the actual rate of increase has been lowered significantly. . ."
"Yes, I know that Dana Something-or-other, and I have no problem in that regard. As I said, who am I to argue with the financial genius of the former owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club? I'm just trying to figure out what happened to the money."
"Mr. Frodo, you silly Hobbit, as you've heard time-and-again, and most recently by Ed Gillespie, you have to remember that we are at War, and that despite the fiscal management of this Administration, the War on Terror has required that we spend whatever it takes to protect the American people. You would think that the Democrat Party would figure that out?"
"Oh, I agree, and I would support you entirely in that endeavor, but somehow I feel a little bit like Carl Bernstein here, and I need you to help me 'follow the money'."
"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Well Dana, if as you say, the Wars have cost $864 Billion and the deficit when the President took office was $5 Trillion, then that comes to just under $5.9 Trillion."
"Well then, how did the deficit get to be $9 Trillion? I mean Dana, perhaps I received an inferior education at the College of the Shire, but it looks to me as if the Democratic Party has severely understated the costs of the Wars when they said they've only cost $1.5 Trillion. On the face of it, it appears to me as if there is something in the neighborhood of $3 Trillion missing from the equation. Is it those silly Democrats not able to add things up properly?"
"Mr. Frodo, these are complicated issues, and we're looking at the wildest of estimates."
"Oh I know, but you're the ones who said the costs of the Wars was only $864 Billion, and you're the ones who said that the Wars are the reason for the increase in the deficit, so I. . ."
"Thank you Mr. Frodo, thank you everyone, we'll have to conclude for now, but we will provide some hand-outs before our next briefing on these matters. Have a nice day."
And that's the way it is.