Bush then and now, the “threat of Iraq” and the “failing economy”

September 26, 2008 | By | Reply More

Jon Stewart’s team does a great job of editing George W. Bush speeches from five years ago and from recent days.   It does seem to be the same speech.

Consider this earlier post, and the opening lines from the BBC’s terrific documentary: “The Power of Nightmares: The Shadows In The Cave.”

In the past, the power of politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people.

. . . Politicians were seen simply as managers of public life. But now they have discovered a new role that restores their apparent authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us . . . from nightmares.

To be clear, I do believe that the American economy is in horrendous shape, primarily because we are hemorrhaging in debt.  We are running massive trade deficits and budget deficits.  This is a problem that has been going on for many years, and it’s been obvious to all honest economists.  Essentially, our “solution,” has been that we are financing long term debt with short term notes.  It’s inexcusable.  We are so extremely vulnerable.  All that has to happen to throw this country over the edge is that our “pushers,” those foreign countries that are continuing to finance our irresponsible ways, decide to stop doing business with us.  That is what our big problem is, and it has been big for many years, extending all the way back to Bush I and Reagan.

Consider this statement by economist John Bogel, being interviewed here by Bill Moyers in September 2007:

But you don’t have to be an economist to know that a great deal of or a minimum in our economy is coming from borrowed money. People are spending at a higher rate than they’re earning, and we’re starting to pay a price for that now. Particularly in the mortgage side. But, eventually, that could easily spread and people won’t be able to do that anymore. You can’t keep spending money you don’t have. It gets a lot of it, you know, and it wasn’t that many years ago — maybe a couple of generations ago — that if you wanted something, you saved for it. And when you completed saving for it, you bought it. Imagine that. And that wasn’t so bad. But, now, we know that we can have the instant gratification and pay for it with interest payments, of course, over time, which is not an unfair way to do it. We’re going to pay a big price for the excessive debt we’ve accumulated in this society both in the public side and the private side.

And it’s no secret that this lack of savings in our economy — just about zero — is putting us at the mercy of foreign countries. China owns — I don’t know the exact number — but, let me say about 25 percent of our federal debt. China does. What happens when they start to buy our corporations with all those extra dollars they’ve got there? I mean, I think that’s very– these problems are long term, are very much worrisome and very much intractable.

Nothing about the current economic “fix” is going to protect us from that danger.  In fact, the current “fix” is to put the country $700 Billion further into debt, because we don’t have $700 Billion.  We’re either borrowing it or we’re diluting the dollar by printing lots and lots of paper dollars.  I’m no economist, but the current “fix” sounds like a Band-Aid, and the big financial corporations will be back for more in six months because the “fix” is not a long-term solution of any sort.  Rather, it’s like a “fix” of cocaine, something to get us through the next couple of months.  Something to allow us to pretend that there’s not a huge problem, much bigger than the one that is obsessing us at the moment, that we are refusing to acknowledge.

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Category: Economy, Politics, Psychology Cognition, snake oil, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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