The popular proverb from notable economist is that the president is limited in his ability to direct the national economy. There is no national economy steering wheel where the president can swerve the economy through the doldrums. But such sympathetic bullshit towards our president’s current problems is totally without merit. When George W. Bush was the Republican Party nominee and was trying to promote himself as the savior who will lead the nation away from the policies of then President Bill Clinton, his vision and ability to steer the economy was so clear that he could see the mild recession headed our way back in 2000. Mr. Bush took up residency in the White House with the economy as his main concern.
Our new president implemented a policy of tax breaks that could not be derailed by a costly war. This is the first time in American history that a president has supported tax breaks in a time of war. This is the first time in American history that corporate conglomerates are profiteering from their participation in the war effort. The estimate is that direct spending on the war has reached seven hundred fifty billion dollars. The indirect estimate is as high as three trillion dollars. The tax breaks, which have paid off handsomely for the average American billionaires and millionaires, is estimated to cost the country four trillion three hundred thousand dollars.
When Mr. Bush took office he had a secret panel help him shape his energy policy. The panel is rumored to consist of a who’s who in the oil industry. From the moment he took office the price of oil began to creep up like it has never crept before. I remember paying as little as ninety cents for gasoline during Bill Clinton’s presidency. When he left office the price of gasoline in my neighborhood was about a buck fifteen. The market price for oil was about twenty dollars a barrel. I could fill up a bone dry gas tank on my little Honda wagon for fourteen dollars. Now, not quite eight years later it is costing me forty five dollars to fill my gas tank. A gallon of gas around the corner from the house cost three dollars twenty cents and is projected to past four dollars by summer. A barrel of oil now cost well over a hundred ten dollars give or take a few cents. What did the president have to say when he was asked about the high cost of energy? Nobody told him that gas was going to go that high.
The war on terror and America’s Iraqi campaign has destabilized the region. The Bush administration is hell bent on keeping tension in the area as high as possible. Such anxiety only fuels the fires that help keep the price of oil going higher and higher. But this is okay because oil companies can make record profits. Forty three billion dollars in a single year is a hell of an income. Is there any wonder if there were any Exxon/Mobile executives in Mr. Bush’s secret energy policy panel?
With Americans spending four dollars a gallon for gas and losing our homes in a credit market considered chaotic is it really surprising to see people abandoning stores like never before? The president wants to tell people that times are tough and we need to give the economic stimulus package a chance. A minimum of three hundred dollars tax rebate for all the tax payers will put us back in track. If that’s all it takes why doesn’t the president rescind the tax cuts and give all of those billionaires and millionaires a three hundred dollar rebate check? If it will work wonders for the average American why not let it work for them? Because the president knows that three hundred dollar check or six hundred dollar check or twelve hundred dollar check is not going to do much in an economy that has people paying four dollars a gallon for gasoline. It’s not going to do jack for people who are about to lose their home. Just like a three hundred dollar check wouldn’t do much for Exxon/Mobile or for Halliburton or for Blackwater.
The president wants the public to wait for the results of his stimulus package so that he can buy time to pack his things and get out of the White House. He’s more than happy to leave this mess for the next president. And if we elect John McCain we can have another four years of failed economic, social, and defense policies. Mr. McCain has promised to keep the war going and has confessed he doesn’t know jack about the economy. If that doesn’t sound like George Bush then I don’t know what does. Why Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or even Ralph Nader would want the responsibility of trying to clean up this mess is so beyond my ability to comprehend.
George Bush doesn’t have to tell me times are tough. I live here. I’ve experienced his economic and energy policies. I know that time’s are tough. But I also know that these times are not tough for Exxon/Mobile or Halliburton or Blackwater. Their businesses are more profitable now than they’ve ever been before.
I know that the price of gas is headed north of four dollars a gallon without anybody having to tell me. A president would have to be either the biggest idiot or the biggest liar to claim that he has no idea that gasoline was headed up again. And although he may be intellectually lazy, Mr. Bush is no run of the mill idiot. He took the economic steering wheel, downshifted to a passing gear, popped the clutch, and maneuver the United States economy over the nearest fiscal precipice. The claim that no president can direct the economy is not even remotely true. George Bush has proven that the president can be more influential than anyone would have ever thought possible on the most resilient economy human history has ever known. And his truly unique combination of actions and lack of action will have global repercussions.