Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A nation of sheep, asleep

Commentary by Pat Murphy


Pat Murphy

While biting questions are being asked about the competence of Bush & Co. in handling Katrina relief as well as the increasingly costly, deadly occupation of Iraq, a more serious crisis is at hand.

As if returning to adolescent drink-and-be-merry behavior of his early adulthood, President Bush is methodically plunging the United States toward financial ruin by frittering away billions of dollars in reserves and running up incalculable debt comparable to Third World countries that pass the hat at the United Nations.

Last week, Bush asked for and was handed blank checks for $10 billion and then $52 billion for aid in the Katrina disaster.

Since Bush took office and wiped out a hefty budget surplus, he's asked Congress to increase the debit limit four times: $450 billion in 2002; $984 billion in 2003; $800 billion in 2004 and $800 billion this year, which totals $3 trillion in added debt in four years.

That's a 50 percent increase in cumulative debt from all of the nation's history.

The president refuses to include costs of Iraq in deficits, and he refuses to give up plans for further tax cuts that'll only hasten the calamity bound to swamp the nation. Nor has he calculated the enormous new Medicare prescription drug program in deficits or the consequences of 4.1 million more Americans listed on the poverty rolls since 2001.

Once-fiscally conservative Republicans are terrified to stand up to the president and his enforcers, brass-knuckled Vice President Cheney and smear monger-in-chief chief Karl Rove. Forget Democrat opposition: party leadership is intellectually terminal.

Rare critics—budget director Mitch Daniels and Treasury secretary Paul O'Neal—were fired for dealing in the truth.

Then who masterminds the nation's bankruptcy? Rightwing theorists crafting Bush policies look raptly to Grover Norquist, founder of the harmless sounding Americans for Tax Reform, and, so ironically, is under investigation for sharing fees in indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's suspected swindle of clients.

Norquist's marching orders to the Bush White House: "My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

So, the U.S. government is in the hands of a president who admits he failed to cope with Katrina's disastrous aftermath, engages in a reckless Iraq expedition that has inspired worldwide terrorism, embraces bankruptcy and debit like a religion, and shrugs off millions of jobs being lost to foreign workers and suggest he might bomb Syria.

And Bill Clinton was impeached for what?

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