Thursday, February 12, 2004

Who DO you think is gonna clean this mess up?

I can almost hear the exasperation in my mother's voice. The party is about over and not only is nobody taking responsibility for the economic mess (no big surprise) but neither are they even acknowledging the very real potential for economic disaster...

None of the candidates seem to appreciate the enormity of the debt tsunami bearing down on our economy. What will the explosion in debt servicing costs stemming from the aggregated (aggravated?) Dubya Deficits do to the budget on top of Social Security trust fund IOUs coming due? ... and let's not fool ourselves, the debt rose every year of the Clinton administration too, "surplus" years or no -- (gee, how did THAT happen?)

As annual debt servicing costs and those pesky IOU payments climb towards a trillion while jobs continue to float overseas, who can say what the impact will be? Given what a little economic downturn in Asia did a few years back, you might expect it to get pretty ugly just about everywhere in about ten years.

Even GOP folk are breaking ranks on this one (among other faith-based neocon initiatives).

"The Republican Party took control of Congress with the 1994 Republican Contract with America on the idea that government "is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money." Almost a decade later, with control of the White House, the Republicans in power have turned around and created the largest budget and deficits this county has ever seen. At a time when this country needs a sound fiscal policy, President Bush has led the path away from fiscal conservatism, and Republicans in Congress and across the country have followed. Conservatives have blindly followed Bush away from what used to be one of their pillars, low government spending and a balanced budget."

"Republicans are swiftly forfeiting the perception that they are especially responsible stewards of government finances. It is surreal for a Republican president to submit a budget to a Republican-controlled Congress and have Republican legislators vow to remove the "waste" that he has included and that they have hitherto funded...
In the last year of Bush's second term, or of John Kerry's first, the first of 77 million baby boomers will begin to retire, and to bankrupt Social Security and Medicare as currently configured.

Bush, unlike Kerry, has admirably bold plans for meeting these predictable crises, which are his generation's greatest domestic challenges. But these plans involve complexities and responsibilities that the public will fathom and accept only if they are explained by a president whom the public believes speaks judiciously and knows things, including what he does not know.

Furthermore, this president's plan for reforming Social Security, which involves allowing individuals to invest a portion of Social Security taxes in approved private accounts, will have large transition costs. Large deficits of the sort currently occurring may become a reason, or at least an excuse, for further delaying reform. "

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