Money for nothing

By Tim Grieve

Published February 8, 2005 5:12PM (EST)

We've told you about some of the tricks in the president's budget proposal. The Progress Report puts a nice, fine point on another one today:

"The budget includes over a billion dollars in revenue from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), even though Congress hasn't authorized such drilling and has rejected President Bush's proposal to open ANWR to oil exploration for the last four years. Budget Director Josh Bolten defended the move, claiming, 'the budget is the right place to present the entirety of the president's policies, so all of his proposals are reflected in there.'"

As the Progress Report asks, "Really?" If the budget is the "right place to present the entirety of the president's policies," why doesn't it reflect the cost of operations in Iraq after this year or the trillions of dollars in borrowing that will be needed to fund the president's Social Security scheme?

Maybe the White House has the numbers all worked out and we just don't understand. After all, remember how the war in Iraq cost "under $50 billion," and how Iraq's oil revenues allowed it to "finance its own reconstruction?"

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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