The NEW YORK TIMES reports today that the world’s central banks are pumping 38 billion dollars worth of cash into the international markets to stem the fall off on the New York exchanges. Considering that we are dumping 50 billion dollars a month into a lost war in Iraq, that is less than a drop in an economic black hole.
Within two weeks of being installed as president by the Supreme Court, Mr. Bush had pulled the plug on the national debt by his tax policy to fatten the rich while at the same time depressing real wages, as they had been for some thirty years before, by no tax relief to the middle class. Our national debt will exceed NINE TRILLION dollars tomorrow. It will increase at the rate of 1.4 billion a day after that meaning that right now you, and every single other American, owe close to 30,000 dollars for Mr. Bush’s adolescent misjudgment.
Every dollar that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney shovel into the abyss of their misadventure in Iraq was borrowed from the Chinese, who are quite right to sneer at the administration’s suggestion that they ought to lower the value of their currency to raise the value of ours. We are the debtor nation. It is yet another fool’s errand upon which the Bush administration has sent itself. If, like the Chinese, you are the world’s lender nation, you do not float your currency to the natural level, you designate what that level is just as we did through out the 50s, 60s, and 70s before we were blinded by debt up to our hairlines.
Much of this could have easily been avoided by leaving income taxes as they were in 2000. That could have been bolstered by regulating banks and other lenders so that they had to properly secure credit cards, and other forms of debt that have since sky-rocketed. The opposite was done, and as we have learned – or should have learned – no freemarketeer will ever turn down a short-term gain in favor of the common good. That is natural enough, as freemarket buccaneers do not believe there is a common good other than those practices that line their own pockets.
As these credit excesses have become apparent through massive rising interest rates and resulting defaults, mortgage lenders have begun to collapse under the weight of their own blind stupidity. Americans should have known better since they are still paying for Reagan’s buffoonery in deregulating the savings and loans industry.
Below prime and interest only lenders are now finding that the pyramid of debt they built is more like a diving board. It has broken. Foreclosures do no one any good, as any student of 1933 will tell you. The same carpet of fake money that rolled out under the Bush Administration to the unwary and unwise, is rolling right back up again. The only justice in it all is that it is taking down the rich too with the shriveling of many hedge funds.
The economy may self-correct because it rests now, as it did not prior to 1980 on the wealth of the rest of the world. Where our own business and government leaders have no understanding of the common good, the world may well be able to do so. However the lingering mess of this debacle will be ours, and our children’s and their children’s mess for decades to come.
Even if the Constitution can be restored and lawful government re-established, it is the gross infection of this administration’s economic yahooism that will remain with us, bleed our energy, and make our recovery slow and painful. Nothing lasts forever, and perhaps the America of hope that existed after WWII has been slaughtered by incompetence and greed.
In the dark of the night, as Mr. Bush sleeps in the bed where Richard Nixon once tossed and sweated, I wonder if the magnitude of his utter failure as a president, a man and as a human being ever penetrates his massively inert and impenetrable ego. He hears the voice of God, he tells us, but does he understand the message. His miserable feckless life has been one long, continuing path of wretched cheats, lies, and failures punctuated by long periods of delusional intoxication. Unlike Gatsby, he is not his own worst enemy. When the history of his presidency fully unfolds, I have come to suspect that he will have been ours.