our managed depression 3: neglect…

Posted on Friday 30 October 2009

So I’m coming to you as an optimistic fellow. I’ve seen what happens when America deals with difficulty. I believe that we’re a resilient economy, and I believe that the ingenuity and resolve of the American people is what helps us deal with these issues. And it’s going to happen again.
President Bush: the Economic Club of New York, March 17, 2008

It’s hard to fathom how a small group of people could take over our government with a lofty mission called The Project for the New American Century, and for us to now be in the shape we’re in heading into the only second decade of that self-same century. We’re all tired of hearing about how the Administration spent its time obsessed with foreign wars, with torture, with secret programs, with dirty tricks, and with their glorious surge. But the things they didn’t do are beginning to dawn on us – or maybe fall all over us would be more like it. They didn’t attend to a runaway financial industry that had received its green light at the end of the Clinton Presidency with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. They ignored the Housing Bubble, the Sub-Prime Mortgages, the Oil Bubble, Derivatives, and countless other fiscal misbehaviors that should have been attended to. I’m not even sure they were looking.

But speaking of not looking, maybe the most egregious piece of it all is the neglect of the developing employment crisis that spans the whole decade. In evaluating children, active abuse and neglect are really the same – have an equally devastating on the child’s development. In a way, we can understand the Bush Administration ignoring the antics of the business/financial community during their tenure. It wasn’t right, but those people were their constituents. As Bush said, "the haves and the have mores", "I call you my base." But it’s hard to understand totally neglecting the statistics from the last post [our managed depression 2: ‘a lost employment decade’] – that no jobs were being generated on his watch. They cut taxes for the rich [again] and embarked on their agenda to be the world’s Sole Superpower. Wall Street had a field day with the whole Sub-Prime scene with the Administration’s blessing. And meanwhile there was an erosion in the job base that will haunt us for decades in the best of circumstances. I don’t recall their even mentioning it until it became critical.

I’m not exactly sure why this happened during the Bush watch, but they weren’t looking at this either. I expect there’s a legitimate complaint to levy towards them about the why of this, but right now, I’m complaining about their ignoring it until it was beyond remediation. Throughout those eight years, we heard phrases like the unitary executive, signing statements, commander-in-chief, and the decider. They were obsessed with consolidating power in the Executive Branch. To what end?

The Conservatives and Republicans harp on the idea of "Small Government." I’m beginning to think that George W. Bush must be the ultimate Conservative, because we essentially had no government at all in the areas that mattered. They claim that history will exonerate them for what they did. I doubt that. But I’m absolutely sure that history will excoriate them for what they did not do…

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