Gosh, it was good to hear from President Bush's alternative universe in the State of the Union address. "Jobs are on the rise."
As we say in Texas, "No shit?"
At the December rate of 1,000 new jobs a month, it would take 166 years just to replace the two million jobs lost since Bush became President, and that, of course, would be 166 years of not creating enough jobs for new workers. Or as John Kerry puts it, that leaves us only 249,000 jobs a month short of where we need to be and where, incidentally, the President promised we would be by now.
But then Bush also promised to cut the deficit in half. Instead, it grew by 100 percent from his prediction of last year. The guy is not exactly on target. And didn't you love the weasel-wording of "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities"?
I also liked Bush urging Congress to make his tax cuts permanent "for the sake of job growth." Excuse me, but hasn't Bush just spent three years conclusively demonstrating that giving tax cuts to the rich doesn't do a thing for job creation? Three times now Bush has given huge, lopsided tax cuts, and all that happened is that jobs keep disappearing. And the jobs that are disappearing are no longer limited to Rust Belt manufacturing jobs: Computer-related jobs of all kinds are being moved to India. Outsourcing and off-shoring are the new corporate rage, along with, of course, the popular post-box-in-the-Bahamas tax dodge.
The fiscal irresponsibility of the Bushies is astonishing, but their cluelessness about the economy is even worse. When Bush was handed the U.S. government, it was a going operation. We had a huge surplus and a chance to fix some longstanding structural problems in both Social Security and health care. Now all we've got is a mess.
Bush brought with him the First Principle of Texas Government, which is that government exists to create a "healthy bidness climate." While Bush has certainly been helpful to the major polluting and extractive industries, unfortunately they are all very "old economy," as they say in Silicon Valley.
The free traders have been blithely assuring us all these years that "brain industry" jobs will replace manufacturing jobs. So what did Bush decide to cut from the federal budget? Research.
One assumes that solar power, wind power, and other alternative energy sources will be the new high-tech economy. But this Administration--run by two oilmen--is not putting any money into those fields. It is, however, heavily subsidizing extractive industries with massive tax breaks. Biotechnology is another promising field the Administration is hindering rather than supporting.
As Richard Florida points out in The Washington Monthly, the Bush Administration's contempt for science is all too evident. Whenever they don't like a scientific conclusion, they either ignore it or just flat change it. Global warming is but one example, and their policy on stem cell research is already causing a brain drain to other countries.
Being curious, taking an interest in other cultures, and enjoying travel were all characteristics of Bill Clinton, Florida notes. Bush pretty much embodies the reverse.
Paul O'Neill's memoirs via Ron Suskind rudely committed the crime of lése majesté, leaving Washington chattering classes agog and atwitter. The media made O'Neill's not very new tale that this Administration meant to invade Iraq from the git-go the big item, but the real story in O'Neill's recollections is both simpler and more depressing. It is what has bothered people about Bush from the beginning: He's not bright enough to be President. For a long time, anyone who questioned Bush's ability to think was pointed to the opinion polls and told that discussing whether or not the President is borderline stupid was bad manners and counterproductive. Actually, that is the main problem with Bush: He neither reads, nor writes, nor speaks well.
It turns out that a C average is not good enough for the Presidency.