Monday, February 09, 2004

John Kerry hasn't even been nominated yet and President Bush is already shaking in his cowboy boots. Faced with falling approval ratings and a record national deficit (in dollar terms), Bush is on the defensive.

Bush appeared at the SRC Automotive Factory in Springfield, Missouri today and proceeded to blame the past four years of mismanagement and poor fiscal policy on the terrorists.

"We started to recover from the recession, and then we got attacked on September the 11th, 2001. In other words, we had tough economic times to begin with, and then the enemy hit us. And that changed us. It really did. It hurt us economically."

I keep waiting for George W. Bush's nose to grow, at least an inch or two, because he seems incapable of telling the truth. If you look at the figures as many economists and number-crunchers have done, you can see that the majority of the deficit came from the billions of dollars of tax cuts he enacted before September 11th, 2001. Sadly, more than half of these tax cuts went to the wealthiest 1 percent of America, meaning that Bill Gates and his ilk can rest easy that they have a friend in the White House, while ordinary tax-paying Americans get a measly cheque for $300 and a pat on the head.

Frivolous tax cuts that don't benefit the majority of Americans should be a tough sell. Strangely, he continues to spin his web of lies and at least 40 percent of the nation is caught in the sticky threads. ("...a CNN/Time magazine poll out Sunday found that just 44 percent of those queried consider Bush "a leader I can trust.")

Even some Republicans are taking notice of the Bush Administration's questionable economic policies and "spend first, worry about it later" attitude towards government spending. The Heritage Foundation, a traditionally staunch Republican organization, is expressing concern over his fiscal policies and the latest budget for FY2004 will mean a deficit of over 500 billion dollars! This means he is getting criticized by both his own conservative base and the Democratic party simultaneously.

How does Bush escape censure, you might ask? By convincing everyone that the terrorists are responsible! Of course, terrorism is a real threat to every nation, but we shouldn't use it as a catch-all "Get out of Jail Free Card" every time someone brings up the ballooning deficit, the missing weapons of mass destruction, the inquiry into 9/11 that Bush took years to initiate, the severe cuts to Veteran's benefits, the massacre of the EPA as a force for change, and the list goes on.

At the auto factory, he went on to threaten that electing a Democrat would mean *gasp* higher taxes!

"There are some in Washington and they're going to say, let's not make the tax cuts permanent. That means it's going to raise your taxes. When you hear people say, we're not going to make this permanent, that means tax increase. Now is not the time to raise taxes on the American people. This economy is getting better."

He also went on to say:
"...(W)e're growing. The growth is good. New jobs are being created. Interest rates are low. Home ownership in America is at one of the highest levels ever, and that's positive. People are owning their own home. (Applause.)

A lot of it had to do with the fact that we cut your taxes, a lot of the reasons why this economy is growing."

Besides being somewhat of a grammar delinquent, George W. is also veering dangerously close to a circular argument with his "tax cuts=economic growth" statement. Sure, the economy is growing, but "...since President Bush took office, the economy has lost more than 2 million jobs". When your economic performance lags for years, any sign of life is welcomed, but how can the Bush Administration claim that their tax cuts are responsible for the job growth? They were responsible for creating the deficit and allowing the recession to grow in the first place!

The stock market couldn't be happier--last time I checked, the NYSE had broken 10,000--but traders are profit driven, meaning they clap and cheer when a factory closes it's doors and the company that owns it becomes profitable again. Point being, economic growth doesn't always mean higher standards of living for the general population. Who will convince the 2 million unemployed Americans that their nation is on the upswing? What about the millions of Americans who don't earn enough to feed their families? What should we tell them? Maybe they can put their children through college and pay for health insurance with their $300 rebate cheque.

When you are running a deficit, you have two options: either you raise your revenues or you cut your expenditures. There is no money tree. George W. Bush is making it clear that he won't attempt to raise revenues. He will be forced to slash social programs, hitting those in the bottom rung of society hardest. Poverty will spread and the gap between rich and poor will widen. I'm not much of a religious man but this is beginning to sound an awful lot like that chaos they talk about in Revelations!

All kidding aside, I hope that the American people exercise their freedom to vote in November 2004, and that they make the right choice. Otherwise, they will be in for four more years of Bush, four more years of deficits, and four more years of neo-conservative dogma. Pre-emptive warfare, terror alerts, pillaging of the Social Security fund, and further demolition of the Constitution are sure to follow.

Do the right thing, America! Anybody but Bush in 2004!

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