Monday, May 31, 2010
Time to Turn to Jeb?
In watching TV news accounts of the recent American disasters – a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a fatal mine explosion in West Virginia, continuing economic fallout from Wall Street excesses, worsening fears about the impact of the massive U.S. debt – I was struck by the absence of one name: George W. Bush.
It was as if the mainstream journalists were following an unwritten rule: that is, whatever the relevance, the former President was not to be mentioned as a culprit in these catastrophes.
Even when there were references to how the problems had been getting worse for 10 years at the Mineral Management Services, the federal agency which has been rubber-stamping plans for deepwater oil rigs, it was as if no one was willing to do the math and calculate who was in charge during most of that time.
Similarly, when the nation’s $1.2 trillion budget deficit was discussed as a grave threat to the economy, it was never mentioned how the nation got to this point, how the Congressional Budget Office had been projecting $850 billion annual surpluses when Bush took over in 2001.
Back then, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was fretting about the technical complexities for the Fed to set interest rates if the U.S. government paid off its entire debt. Well, that was one “problem” that Bush solved.
The simple truth is that Bush’s policies, implemented by Republican-dominated Congresses in the first half of the last decade, set the stage for all the recent catastrophes – debt caused by massive tax cuts for the wealthy and wars paid for by credit card, hostility toward government regulation of industry (and especially the coal and oil industries), blind faith in the “magic of the market” to set things right.
Yet, the major U.S. news media behaves as if this context must be blacked-out. Bush-43 must get a pass and the blame must be dumped on President Barack Obama for having “failed” to fix these problems in the past 16 months...(more)