Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A preposterous time

The architects of destructive U.S. economic policies need not worry about the bungling being discontinued. The heir to this calamity, Sen. John McCain, assures Americans of bleaker years ahead with his Alice in Wonderland view in January that Americans are in a "pretty good prosperous time."

"Prosperous time"? A more honest description would be a "preposterous time." Tracking of the U.S. economic nervous system shows Americans are worse off by the month.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Tuesday that while real household income grew by 8.5 percent in the 11 years between 1989 and 2000, it fell in the Bush-Cheney years between 2000 and 2007 from an average $50,557 to $50,233.

Simultaneously since July 2000, seven months into the Bush presidency, the inflation rate has risen from a 3.66 percent annual rate to the current 5.60 percent.

Statistical portraits drawn by the Economic Policy Institute provide an even more desolate image of an America in economic decline.

Jobs by the millions are being drained from the American workplace by government-supported corporate decisions to outsource work abroad and by the staggering $262 billion trade deficit with China.

According to the EPI study, 2.3 million American jobs were lost between 2001 and 2007 because of the China trade gap alone, including losses in Idaho jobs equivalent to 2.6 percent of the work force—jobs that would have translated into increased tourism business in the Wood River Valley.

The study also debunks the notion that lost jobs are among semi-skilled and unskilled workers. In fact, as EPI notes, 55.6 percent of the lost jobs were among the top half of U.S. wage earners.

Adding insult to grievous injury, as the Chinese drive up the trade deficit, they also are loaning Washington hundreds of billions of dollars and hoarding IOUs from the world's largest debtor nation—ours.

McCain appears unable to deal with this economic crisis. He proposes prolonging the costly ($10 billion per month) Iraq war and making permanent the Bush-Cheney tax cut for the wealthy that is hemorrhaging revenue from the national treasury.

Americans who must decide on their next president should take McCain at his word, as he confessed to The Chicago Tribune on Dec. 18, 2007: "The issue of economics is something that I've really never understood as well as I should."

That leaves ordinary Americans, who have been played as fools for the past seven years, with the duty to figure out what's befallen them and decide who is best equipped to fix it before they go to the polls in November.

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