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President Bush walked smack into a recession, but it’s really a Clinton hangover. PresidentGeorgeBush jumps

In November 2000 we had the luxury of waiting for the result of an election poised on a knife edge. Would it be Gore or Bush. In the end it all came down to a corrupt electoral system in Florida and mislaid, disallowed and tainted ballot papers. We ended up with George.W. Bush as President, the C student who came good thanks to patronage and fate. It wasn’t supposed to go that way.
President Bush walked smack into a recession, but it’s really a Clinton hangover. America had an eight year party of which the last three years they just never went to bed, it got so hectic. Americans tested the limits of conspicuous consumption, bought stocks and shares like kids used to buy Pokemon cards, they had to have them all. It was a spend, spend, spend party, with no savings, no limits. The stock market had turned into a slot machine in the last Clinton years that gave out a prize with every pull. The first warning came last March 2000 and for the next nine months took a lot of people on a one way trip on the downside. Of course, the brave stuck it out and it climbed back up as interest rates fell, but the damage has been done. America got its second Bush recession.
America didn’t just elect a new president, they also ordered everything on an old 1990 menu and everyone people had forgotten or thought dead suddenly reappeared. George W. loves his Daddy so much, he hired all his friends to run the country, adding some flavour with General Powell, who allegedly ‘won’ the Gulf war - though normally if you win the war the enemy is defeated, something no amount of spin can hide from us. So Saddam lives again for Gulf War Two in ‘02.

The Bush agenda led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, is massively conservative, committed to rolling back any social and legal changes brought about by Clinton. Luckily for America and the rest of the world, Republican Senator Jeffords has finally jumped ship, unable to stomach this extreme agenda. As a consequence we are unlikely to get this crazed Star Wars ‘Defence Shield’ that makes world war so much more likely. (Perhaps this is the real agenda behind the scheme by all George W.’s defence industry pals looking for rich contracts). George W. may have got his tax cuts through, but now the ride will be much harder for him. The harsh repeal of abortion laws, more extreme measures against recreational drugs and alcohol will be watered down. The demonisation of young America will have to wait. We are not advocating a pro drugs or booze plank here, but with the Presidents own daughter in the news for trying to buy a drink with a phoney ID it is a timely reminder that if you are over 18 and under twenty-one in America, you have precious few civil liberties. Our advice is study in Europe, it is more civilised, you can drink legally and the booze tastes better and without guns its safer on the streets and in the schools.

Of course if you are poor in America, the chances are you are not reading this, have little access to good schooling or teaching, have no health insurance, virtually no public transportation and if you living in Texas where George W. was Governor, your air quality just went down, along with investments in schools, hospitals, public housing, environmental protection and the Arts.

What makes people like Bush run for office? Certainly it’s not the civil service pay. Perhaps it’s the opportunities for pay off. George W. using the influence gained from his father’s presidency and tutored by his father’s friends, has become a very wealthy man exploiting every avenue he could. From the day he sold out his stock in Harken Energy in June 1990 for $848,560 (a week before the company posted spectacular losses) he has never looked back. The SEC didn’t punish him after an investigation, probably linked to the fact that his father appointed all five of the SEC investigators.
He has made his second fortune from buying into and then selling on the Texas Rangers after persuading Arlington City taxpayers to build a stadium for them (something they are still stuck with paying for). Recently George W. together with his powerful friends, bought a 1500 acre spread replete with 200 acres of canyons and lakes near Crawford, Texas. They used a nice tax loophole (Subchapter F, Section 23.81) normally used to preserve open spaces, to get an advantageous property tax of just $217 an acre. Everyone else in Texas of course pays much higher taxes to enable the Bush family and friends to live so well.

It’s worth looking at what this man George W. Bush did to Texas whilst Governor, because this could be about to happen to America as a whole. Especially now that tax cuts are going to pass through into the system by next September ‘02.
Texas is number one for executions.
Number one for pollutants released into the atmosphere.
Number one for highest Greenhouse emissions.
Number one for highest home insurance rates.
Texas has the lowest state spending on parks, arts, libraries, environment, housing and policing.
It is number two in the USA for families living in poverty; number two for the highest number of kids without health insurance.
42 percent of Texas High School students dropout of school.
Teen drug use is up 30 percent on the national average.
Texas ranks 48th (out of 50) in public health spending per capita.

There is a sense already that the Bush presidency is a lame duck administration. On June 2nd Senator McCain, who ran against Bush in the runoffs and was wounded by Bush authorising attacks on his character and questioning his role in the Vietman War, signalled renewed battle. McCain senses weakness, and doesn’t agree with the extreme Republican agenda, which amounts to declaring war on people who hold democratic values. There are strong hints that he will start a new third-way political party for battle in 2004.

Senator Jeffords defection has opened up Pandora’s box and given the Democrats hope. They know that every attack on clean air or the environment helps them. Bush’s plan to build 1300 new power stations to deal with the US energy shortages is a plan to enrich his oil and power buddies. Of course California is suffering. But build a city in the desert you have to experience a little pain. (If your want to see the seeds of the corruption rent the movie Chinatown and you’ll understand.)
At some point America will have to realise that energy conservation and power efficient homes, cars and offices is the way forward, not endlessly increasing power and air-pollution. Not driving oil prices ever upwards. There really is a finite supply of fossil energy out there. There really are dangers with building more nuclear power stations when we have not a clue whatsoever of what to do with the dangerous radioactive waste. (Other than store it near good groundwater supplies or put it on trains and drive them around in circles - yes this really happens.)

Bush senses danger. McCain is just one arrow in the sky, the Democrats are waiting to avenge their defeat in 2002 mid-term elections and just about any mistake could open more poltical opportunists to claim the prize. When George W. takes his family off to Kennebunkport in Maine this summer he knows he is a lucky man but for every gambler, luck runs out just when you least expect it.
*Sources US Bureau of Census, State Government Finances 1998, National Education Agency 1999. US E.P.A. Office of Pollution and Prevention, Familes USA.

© Road Runner June 2001

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