With those three words, retired United States Senator Connie Mack, a Republican from Florida and the current chair of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform summed up the economic policy of the Bush administration.
Senator Mack made his comments in response to questions from New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon about where the government would get the money it needed to run this country, in an interview published last week in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.
Well borrow it? Well, at least he is honest. Since President Bush took office in 2001 foreign debt has risen by $985 billion to $1.99 trillion dollars. And on Halloween, the United States Treasury Department announced that it plans to borrow a record $171 billion from the markets in the first quarter of 2006. And we will need to borrow more. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Presidents budget will result in a deficit of $317 billion in fiscal year 2005 and another deficit of $332 is projected for 2006, and thats before we spend a dime in Iraq or Afghanistan or pay for hurricane clean up and relief. Between now and 2015, the CBO projects that the Presidents policies will result in total deficits of $2.6 trillion. Already under President Bush, the national debt has risen by more than $2 trillion standing today at more than $8 trillion dollars. That means that every child born in the United States begins life with a debt of more than $26,000.
Things are no better on the foreign policy front where last week marked the death of the 2,000 soldier killed in the war in Iraq. Apparently built on shifting sands, the reasons for the war have changed from the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, to building democracy in the Middle East, to fighting Al Qaeda. Take your pick. Things are such a mess that Lawrence Wilkerson, the former deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, in a speech to the New America Foundation and in a later opinion article recently described the foreign policy of the United States as being run by a cabal headed by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Wilkersons scathing remarks made clear that he believes that the Bush administration has "courted disaster'' in Iraq, Iran and North Korea and has seriously weakened the nations decision making process.
Wilkersons words were no kinder in addressing domestic challenges where he labeled the Bush administration as so inept that it could not cope with a major domestic disaster, adding If something comes along that is truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence.'' One only needs to look at the response of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina to realize the incompetence of those in charge. But their incompetence is not limited to their inability to respond to emergencies. Their failures are evident in almost every facet of government that matters to those citizens who dont happen to be among the nations richest one percent. Under President Bush, Poverty has increased every year, as has the number of those without health insurance. And according to a recently released report by the Economic Policy Institute, job growth has been anemic, with the United States adding only 1.3% more jobs today than in March 2001. Meanwhile wages and income have fallen for American workers.
John McDonald a is a writer and consultant on public policy issues and politics. He writes a blog called RockThrower.