Musings on the US Presidential Elections I, Bush, Republicans and the Economy

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Friday September 26, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

As the US elections approach, I cannot escape one of those "Wordsworthian spots of time." It happened in the year 2000 when I was in X'ian, China looking at the terra cotta warriors. As I admired the statues and craftsmanship, a tourist group from the United States passed by and a loud mouth American who had to have been a Republican (Clinton was in the White House then) was boasting, "Just wait until we get in the White House, then we'll show them how to run the economy." George Bush, the Republican candidate did win the election in Nov. 2000 and of course entered the White House in January, 2001. So here I am eight years later, thinking back on that loud mouth and the way the Republicans showed us how to run the economy.

I never did see that man again, I didn't even get a good look at him in X'ian, but his words remain locked in my memory, and as I look at the condition of the United States and the world, they become all the more salient.

George Bush, remember him, he was the "great decider" who turned out to be the "great divider." When Bush entered the White House, the United States had a budget surplus and was at relative peace with the world. Under the tough-talking Bush, that budget surplus quickly became a budget deficit. That was all before 9/11, and probably if 9/11 had never happened Bush would have been voted out in 2004 just on economical grounds. But 9/11 happened and after that came the Iraq War and the futile search for alleged weapons of mass destruction and a lot more. The great divider had frightened the people and led the country into a war they didn't want; the budget deficit continued to balloon. Now it has reached trillions of dollars, but that isn"t all.

A phrase that Republicans like to spout and tout is "we won't raise your taxes." This is said to make people feel good and supposedly think the Republican Party is fiscally responsible. But now after eight years of a Republican President and six years of a Republican-controlled Congress, I do have my doubts about their definition of responsibility. Responsible to whom? To the fat cats on Wall Street? What good is not having to raise one's taxes when the country has accumulated a deficit in the trillions of dollars? How does one build up the enormity of such a deficit in only eight years? Yet there is more.

The country has an accompanying gigantic trade imbalance with China. Yes, China that's the country that sends us all those poisoned and tainted products and foods. So the US has to constantly to borrow money from China on that imbalance at high interest rates. Nice economy, but not to worry, our taxes have not gone up. Yet the lingering thought remains, who will pay the piper? Our children, our grandchildren? Unfortunately, there is still more.

There has been an economic meltdown and the USA now not only has a deficit in the trillions of dollars, a trade imbalance that it must regularly borrow money on from China, the country that fills it with poisoned and polluted products, but now it has a financial crisis that could approach the Great Depression. How to solve this? Bail out the fat cats whose speculation caused it. Who will pay for it? The American tax-payer of course! Does that mean my taxes will go up anyway? Where is that boasting loud mouth who said the Republicans would fix the economy?