When Bush was elected President in 2000, we had a federal budget surplus of around $200 billion. Now, after the first four years of the Bush Administration we have an annual deficit estimated at about $445 billion. If Clinton had not left Bush a huge surplus, Bush would not have been able to run up the huge deficits that he has with his tax cuts and Iraq War. Interestingly, the “War on Terrorism” has cost almost nothing compared to the War on Iraq, which has been enormously expensive, since we haven’t done things like protecting our seaports, chemical plants or food supply, which would have been much more important to protecting America from a future terrorist attack than invading Iraq.
We have, however, used the Clinton surplus to make a large transfer of wealth to the most wealthy Americans through the Bush tax cuts, and we have given millions to defense contractors, such as Halliburton, for the Iraq War. Unfortunately, the lesson is, don’t do the right thing. If you don’t spend the Federal Government’s money on your constituency, e.g., Clinton on Democratic welfare programs, then the Republicans will take that saved money and spend it on their constituency, i.e., the obscenely wealthy.
It’s not unlike a corporate raider taking over a company and then destroying it by selling off its assets for more than he paid for the company. Watch the movie “Pretty Woman” for an elementary lesson in how this works. In the movie, Richard Gere develops a conscience and does the right thing. There is no sign that George Bush has a conscience to develop. He stands only for greed all the way to the bank. Laura Bush, who seems like a decent woman, appears to have less influence over George Bush than Julia Roberts, who plays a whore, has over Richard Gere in the movie.
The fact that evil trumps good in American politics is a bad sign for our future, sort of a Gresham’s law of politics. (Note the reference to Aristophanes’ “The Frogs” in the Wikipedia link: “So with men we know for upright, blameless lives and noble names. These we spurn for men of brass….” It is exactly the political reference intended here. Unfortunately, if Aristophanes saw it thousands of years ago, it’s nothing new; just a bad aspect of human nature.)