Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Bush decision making process

I about popped a blood vessel in my head after reading this today:

President Bush said Thursday the country is not recession-bound and, despite expressing concern about slowing economic growth, rejected for now any additional stimulus efforts. "We acted robustly," he said.

"We'll see the effects of this pro-growth package," Bush told reporters at a White House news conference, acknowledging that some lawmakers already are talking about a second stimulus package. "Why don't we let stimulus package 1, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?"

It "seemed like a good idea at the time"? WTF? This paints a very disturbing mental picture. A bunch of Bush cronies (none of whom have a background in economics) sitting around a conference room with him tossing out random ideas on how to fix the economy. Someone chimes in with "Hey, why don't we give everyone an advance on next year's tax refund. People will just go out and spend it on big screen TVs, which will pump up the economy." Bush ponders for a few seconds. "That's genius. By the time the Amurican public figgers out they have to pay it back next year, the Dems will be in charge and we can blame it on them!"

But when the highly anticipated turnaround doesn't materialize on his watch, Bush retorts, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." Jesus Tap Dancing Christ. How will we ever recover from the past eight years of this man?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How projecting toughness at all costs is costing us everything

Why can't more people understand this:

The NYT’s Bob Herbert had an important column on a recent congressional hearing that barely generated any attention at all. The focus was on the cost of the war in Iraq, which is likely to reach $2 trillion, if not more.

On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”

Mr. Hormats mentioned Social Security and Medicare, saying that both could have been put “on a more sustainable basis.” And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers.

What we’re getting instead is the stuff of nightmares.

Noting this, Matt Yglesias added, “Few people seem to appreciate it, but it’s quite literally true that al-Qaeda’s strategy is to cripple the U.S. economy by dragging us into quagmires abroad. Osama bin Laden himself has said this, and it’s the only strategy that makes sense. A smallish number of people with no base of resources can’t possibly defeat us unless we shoot ourselves in the foot repeatedly as Bush and McCain propose.”

All Al Qaeda has to do is question George Bush's masculinity and he'll bankrupt the entire country to prove them wrong. It's so goddamned childish. I don't know what's worse: the fact that the neocons have used "terrorism" for such blatantly and transparently political purposes that are ruining the country, or the fact that so many American citizens are too stupid to get that they're being punked.