Saturday, October 13, 2012

What they are not saying ... How this country got into its mess

When it comes to elections we all seem to have short memories.  That may be the reason that politicians say the same things over and over again, and why some of them don't mind contradicting themselves.  But what I don’t understand is why some history has been completely ignored in the recent political debates.  
Here is what I remember about how my country got into the mess it’s in:
  • When George W. Bush became President he was given a prize that scarcely any president has ever received in American history:  A budget surplus.                 So what did his administration do with it?  Improve the highway infrastructure?  Update the aging bridges across the country?  Install a national optical fiber system?  Provide the country with comprehensive wi-fi?  No, they gave the money “back” as a "tax cut."  For most people it was a couple hundred dollars; for those with high incomes the return was several thousand dollars; for instance, if your taxable income was between $200,000 and $499,000, your return was $7400 [NYT 10/19/10, from Tax Policy Institute].  So who were the new administration catering to?
  • When the 9/11/01 attack took place the Bush administration was given world-wide support and sympathy -- another gift not given to many presidents before him; even in Iran the young people held a minute of silence in honor of the American dead before a soccer game.  And indeed the American attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan was widely supported; no one had much sympathy for the Taliban, and no one cared when thousands of them died and the rest were forced to flee into Pakistan.  But within a year the Bush administrated turned their attention away from that conflict, leaving the job unfinished.  They turned away in order to attack Saddam Hussein in Iraq; they even claimed he had been behind the 9/11/01 attack [remember this?] in order to justify their refocus on Iraq.  So doing, they awakened the many confused and frustrated unemployed young men all over the Middle East, to give them the sense that America was attacking the whole Muslim world -- and a cause to fight for.  The attack on Iraq squandered the good-will of the world, and revived a nearly crushed AlQaeda.  
  • The Bush administration made no provision for the costs of the two wars they were involved in.  Those costs were taken off-line when the budget was being discussed; the skyrocketing costs of the wars were hardly discussed in Congress.  In those days Paul Ryan and others who now present themselves as budget hawks signed off on the Bush budgets every time.
  • The result was that by the time the Bush administration left office the economy was in the tank -- for many reasons, but one of them was the unfunded wars.  When the Bush administration left office the budget was in deficit.  Their successor was dealt one of the worst hands of any administration since 1930.  
The people who participated in policies that left this country in a mess now present themselves as eager to correct the errors of George W. Bush's successor.  Ryan voted for the profligate policies that caused the deficit that he now deplores.    

Why would the American people want Ryan and those who supported the Bush administration to come back?  How could anyone want them back?

The profligacy of the Bush administration now seems like it was ages in the past -- which is where the Romney/Ryan ticket wants it to be.  Hardly anyone remembers just how our country got to this point.  This story remains unmentioned, and is almost forgotten.  

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