Fuzzy economics

George W. Bush’s claim that his tax cuts to the super-rich are what’s behind the “spectacular” economic growth of 7.2 percent from July-September is fuzzy economics.

The fact is there are two ways to look at the economy: the view from Wall Street or the view from Main Street.

Wall Street and their political hacks trumpet a 7.2 percent growth because there is an upturn in profits, including from the war in Iraq and military spending. Prices, especially oil, are up, consumer spending went up, businesses got a tax credit for making investments that didn’t create jobs and the banks got a gift from mortgage refinancing and deficit spending. None of these “trickled down” in the form of benefits for middle-income, working class or poor families.

Economists of all stripes say the growth does not include any significant numbers of new jobs. Treasury Secretary John Snow said that “job creation has yet to take hold” and Georgia Republican Party boss Alec Poitevint, in a press release, could not state an increase of jobs as one of the hallmarks of this “roaring” economy.

The view from Main Street is this: no new jobs, wages and pensions slashed, sky-rocketing health care costs, new racist and anti-immigrant policies, no new spending for education, infrastructure or social programs. Yet $87 billion goes for the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost of the deficit spending will be visited upon future generations. These deficits also increase the pressure to privatize Social Security and Medicare.

The “spectacular” economic growth is a cynical attempt to get traction for Bush’s 2004 reelection bid. His spin team may try to obscure these views with their creepy double-speak. They will use racism and other divide-and-conquer dirty tricks to convince people they have our best interest at heart. But, in the end, there is no obscuring the fact that this administration only acts on behalf of the narrow Wall Street, and not the much wider Main Street.

Bush and the California wildfires

Last April 16, California Gov. Gray Davis wrote to George W. Bush pleading for emergency funds to clear away thousands of dead trees in the forests of Southern California. Davis warned that the trees could fuel wildfires in Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino counties, with 75,000 residents at especially high risk. He asked Bush to release $300 million in U.S. Forest Service funds and $300 million in FEMA funds to remove the trees.

Eight days later, a bipartisan group of lawmakers that included Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republicans Reps. Mary Bono and Darrell Issa, wrote to Bush with the same appeal.

Bush ignored their pleas, just as a year earlier he rejected Davis’s appeals that the White House act to curb Enron and the other energy thieves then looting California to the tune of $50 billion in electricity overcharges.

Cutting off federal assistance to California and giving free rein to corporate thieves there fit in with Bush-Cheney plans to remove Gov. Davis from office and install muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger in his place. Schwarzenegger now says he has Bush’s ear and will be able to get the assistance Davis couldn’t. Haley Barbour, former chairman of the Republican Party, delivered the same pitch in his successful race for governor of Mississippi.

Bush uses the power of the federal purse strings like an emperor, doling out federal dollars to some and denying it to others to reinforce his total power. But millions who are now voting Republican have found themselves on the losing end of this Republican scam.

Consider those folks in Southern California. Bush blocked aid that could have saved their homes and many of them, obviously, are Republicans, including Rep. Duncan Hunter whose San Diego home burned to the ground. Using federal tax dollars as a political weapon is a high crime deserving of impeachment. Voters should remember that crime on Election Day a year from now.

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