Just about anytime you get an official acknowledgement of the Big Money being spent or wasted by government, you should realize you're only getting half the picture. If that. Residents of the District should remember the not so distant past of the baseball stadium funding fiasco, in which the District of Columbia government, in all their brilliance, rolled over for a multi-billion dollar monopoly called Major League Baseball to publicly finance the baseball stadium. And the costs kept growing.
Now in the past week and a half, we've gotten two Big Money scandals to digest. First, again in our fair city, the Tax Office scam, in which currently about half a dozen individuals have been arrested for stealing at first glance $16 million. Then on second glance, it turned out to be $20 million. But wait, after peering a bit longer, it turns out it's more like $31.7 million, or double the original estimate. I doubt anyone would be surprised to see it hit $40 million soon.
Of course, the District's money woes pale in comparison to the really Big Money ripoff scam of the 21st century: Bush's Iraq Boondoggle, whose total cost has now gone to a numbing $1.6 trillion, if you throw in the Afghanistan action. Bush has asked for about half of that cost, meaning he's either trying to hide the other half of the wars' expenses or he really is a stupid miserable failure who can't keep budget items straight. Or both. The Post has more information on the report.
The Post, in fact, breaks it down to $20K for every family of four in America. What a waste. Now as we approach 4,000 dead American soldiers in Iraq (today it stands at 3,863, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualties site), BushCo is rattling sabers for an attack on Iran. I wonder what that will cost in lives, dollars, and regional instability.*
*Speaking of regional instability, it strikes me that the most destabilizing events in the region generally have US involvement as a major feature, including US support for the brutal regime of the Shah, US material and logistics assistance in Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons, and well, the toppling of crazy but contained Hussein and the transformation of Iraq into a broken, Balkanized nation.