Friday, September 16, 2005

NEW TWIST IN DESPERATE BUSH'S POSTURING

It seems that Bush The Pathetic Puppet is now attempting to sell himself as FDR (I am desperately trying not to go into acute cardiac arrest at the mere thought) by proposing a kind of/sort of New Deal. It shows what extreme the Cheney/Rove driven right wing GOP will go to deceive the American people. Bush/Rove/Cheney have no principles at all. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. (Like, none of them served in the U.S. military and all are in the Viet Nam war age bracket.) Aside from accumulating $$$$ at the expense of so many, what have the 3 greedy stooges done for humanity? What have they personally contributed to America? Do they know the meaning of altruism? Probably not. Why would they be deserving of our trust?

Bush blew a lot of hot wind and smoke tonight. He tried to do a high wire act because his approval ratings are in the sewer and his party is on the ropes, where it should be, the rubber-stamping cowards that they are.

Bush’s performance was, as usual, all staged and couched by his handlers, mainly Rove. If reporters were actually present, they were not allowed to ask questions. Of course not. Any questions posed might deviate from the script written by Rove.

Rove, the quintessential political hack and whore of postmodern times, is known for his brilliance in fooling us. Down the line, history might prove him a traitor.

Tonight Bush promised billions but did not guarantee that a penny would get to where it needs to go. No oversight or accountability was proposed.

Do you honestly believe that the funds promised to reconstruct the Gulf region, our money, folks, our money, will go to where it is needed the most, without oversight from a person or group that is not politically joined at the hip with Bush/Cheney/Rove?

If you do, you are really, really stupid and I would feel sorry for you if the stakes weren’t so high for all of us.

If you should have a small segment of a brain, you would know that most of the funding promised will go into the pockets of Bush/Cheney/Rove and their hacks and cronies. LS

Sent by Ken - NOT THE NEW DEAL, by Paul Krugman, NYT.



NOT THE NEW DEAL
By Paul Krugman of the NYT

September 16, 2005
Not the New Deal
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Now it begins: America's biggest relief and recovery program since the New Deal. And the omens aren't good.

It's a given that the Bush administration, which tried to turn Iraq into a laboratory for conservative economic policies, will try the same thing on the Gulf Coast. The Heritage Foundation, which has surely been helping Karl Rove develop the administration's recovery plan, has already published a manifesto on post-Katrina policy. It calls for waivers on environmental rules, the elimination of capital gains taxes and the private ownership of public school buildings in the disaster areas. And if any of the people killed by Katrina, most of them poor, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million, Heritage wants to exempt their heirs from the estate tax.

Still, even conservatives admit that deregulation, tax cuts and privatization won't be enough. Recovery will require a lot of federal spending. And aside from the effect on the deficit - we're about to see the spectacle of tax cuts in the face of both a war and a huge reconstruction effort - this raises another question: how can discretionary government spending take place on that scale without creating equally large-scale corruption?

It's possible to spend large sums honestly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated in the 1930's. F.D.R. presided over a huge expansion of federal spending, including a lot of discretionary spending by the Works Progress Administration. Yet the image of public relief, widely regarded as corrupt before the New Deal, actually improved markedly.

How did that happen? The answer is that the New Deal made almost a fetish out of policing its own programs against potential corruption. In particular, F.D.R. created a powerful "division of progress investigation" to look into complaints of malfeasance in the W.P.A. That division proved so effective that a later Congressional investigation couldn't find a single serious irregularity it had missed.

This commitment to honest government wasn't a sign of Roosevelt's personal virtue; it reflected a political imperative. F.D.R.'s mission in office was to show that government activism works. To maintain that mission's credibility, he needed to keep his administration's record clean.

But George W. Bush isn't F.D.R. Indeed, in crucial respects he's the anti-F.D.R.

President Bush subscribes to a political philosophy that opposes government activism - that's why he has tried to downsize and privatize programs wherever he can. (He still hopes to privatize Social Security, F.D.R.'s biggest legacy.) So even his policy failures don't bother his strongest supporters: many conservatives view the inept response to Katrina as a vindication of their lack of faith in government, rather than as a reason to reconsider their faith in Mr. Bush.

And to date the Bush administration, which has no stake in showing that good government is possible, has been averse to investigating itself. On the contrary, it has consistently stonewalled corruption investigations and punished its own investigators if they try to do their jobs.

That's why Mr. Bush's promise last night that he will have "a team of inspectors general reviewing all expenditures" rings hollow. Whoever these inspectors general are, they'll be mindful of the fate of Bunnatine Greenhouse, a highly regarded auditor at the Army Corps of Engineers who suddenly got poor performance reviews after she raised questions about Halliburton's contracts in Iraq. She was demoted late last month.

Turning the funds over to state and local governments isn't the answer, either. F.D.R. actually made a point of taking control away from local politicians; then as now, patronage played a big role in local politics.

And our sympathy for the people of Mississippi and Louisiana shouldn't blind us to the realities of their states' political cultures. Last year the newsletter Corporate Crime Reporter ranked the states according to the number of federal public-corruption convictions per capita. Mississippi came in first, and Louisiana came in third.

Is there any way Mr. Bush could ensure an honest recovery program? Yes - he could insulate decisions about reconstruction spending from politics by placing them in the hands of an autonomous agency headed by a political independent, or, if no such person can be found, a Democrat (as a sign of good faith).

He didn't do that last night, and probably won't. There's every reason to believe the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, like the failed reconstruction of Iraq, will be deeply marred by cronyism and corruption.

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