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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Annals from Bushworld

In the past few days President Bush has been stumping for what he believes is great economic progress. The numbers seem pretty good, so why are people not giving him any credit for it?

The President fails to mention, and highlight specifically, the fact that this is a good economy for the investor class, not for the worker class. The economy has been grwing for thirty straight months, but regular folks are getting squeezed more and more. Wages have remained stagnant for almost ten years, while healthcare, gas and energy, tuition costs have exploded, and inflation has driven the price of everything up. We are in period of stagflation. So, while the investor classes get richer, the workers get poorer and the middle class shrinks. Yes, the economic number, on average, look good. But when broken down into more specific categories, they look really good for one group, and really bad for the other.

On another economic note, the President has also been gloating over the anouncement that the new deficit forecast will be $296 billion, not the $400+ billion forecast previously. Though this is a large improvement, keep in mind that the White House always takes the optimistic approach to calculating the deficit, and also excludes the cost of both wars (which will happen no more since Congress passed a bill banning the practice). It would be no surprise if in the next few months there is a revising of that projection. Regardless, I do not remember a time when having a $300 billion deficit was something to gloat about. To put matters into context, the deficit represents about 2.3% of the size of the economy, so it should be manageable. Still, you have a White House whose CIC has never vetoed a spending bill, and a VP who infamously uttered the stupid comment "deficits don't matter". I certainly hope that Laurel and Hardy have gotten beyond previous beliefs. But can you realistically expect that.


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