Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Bush Economic Legacy


(Double-click on the image to enlarge for readability)

"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

- Shelley -

The U.S. Census Bureau just released this report on income, poverty, and access to health care. The report is a damning indictment of the Bush/Cheney years. Not just one Bush presidency, but the unholy trinity of the father, the son, and the ghost of Reagan... a veritable one-two-three-punch right in the economic gut of Middle America. On every major measurement, the report shows the country losing ground: Median household income declined, poverty increased, and the number of Americans without health insurance skyrocketed.

Compare the economic performance of the Bush years with those of Clinton: The condition of the country improved on all indices during the Clinton years, often considerably. In fact, the Bush economic record wipes out 20 years of economic progress. Indeed, I look upon these mighty Bush works with deep, deep despair.

This article by Dylan Ratigan, "
Americans Have Been Taken Hostage," deserves mention within the context of this post:

The American people have been taken hostage to a broken system. It is a system that remains in place to this day. A system where bank lobbyists have been spending in record numbers to make sure it stays that way.

A system that corrupts the most basic principles of competition and fair play, principles upon which this country was built.


Ask yourself how long you are willing to be held hostage? How long will you let o ur elected officials be the agents of those whose business it is to exploit our government and the American people at any cost

For another perspective, we should consider this definition of victimology:
[It] is the scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system — that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials — and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements. Victimology is … not restricted to the study of victims of crime alone but may cater to other forms of human rights violations that are not necessarily crime.

Perhaps we should bring this definition to bear in our di scussions on economics because, assuredly, there are victims and offenders. I see Middle America as victims on multiple levels:

  1. Wall Street institutions betrayed the trust of Middle America with reckless speculation that devalued assets and investments;

  2. The political process has been hijacked by corporatists and their lobbyists leaving Middle America disenfranchised;

  3. The offenders enjoy unbridled freedom to plunder the wealth of Middle America with impunity.

One can understand the misplaced outrage of tea baggers with justification. All of us, liberal and conservative alike, are rightfully angry about the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street and the outrageous bonuses paid to crooks and scoundrels at taxpayer expense. Tea baggers see themselves as victims, and undoubtedly they are! Yet, they are blaming the wrong offenders, defending their own persecutors, selling out their own economic self-interest, and, yet, it seems doubtful whether anyone can set them straight.

All I can do right now is frame an argument and see where this takes us.

(Cross-posted at
The Swash Zone.)

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  • Matt Tabbi describes teabag-astroturf thinking as a 'peasant mentality:'

    You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit.

    Worth reading the whole post

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:51 PM  

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