George Bush today specified one of his principles for the economic stimulus package designed to help his post-bubble economy is that the size "should be about 1 percent of GDP". That seemingly harmless little phrase has a history in the Bush administration. For it was the guess as to the full cost of the Iraq war, as of 2002, that got Bush's then economic adviser, Larry Lindsey, hustled out of his job.
Even though it's now far too low, it was much too high for a White House that was pushing the idea of a low cost war, with Iraq's reconstruction to be paid for out of oil money. Perhaps Bush doesn't remember the apoplexy that the phrase caused all those years ago. Perhaps we better hope that he doesn't embrace the number as prescribing that another nice little war might be just what the economy needs.