On January 31, 2006 George Bush fulfilled his Constitutional duty and delivered the annual State Of The Union Address. The President was upbeat and there was a certain swagger in his delivery to the Congress, Cabinet, The Joint Chiefs and the Supreme Court now made up of two new justices selected by him. Indeed Justice Alito was sworn in just that morning. Thus he had fulfilled his campaign pledge to the anti-choice coalition that had elected him. He expects that now the new justices will begin the process of whittling down Roe v. Wade while paying lip service to stare decisis by not overturning it.
This process will make Roe meaningless in the States that would bar abortion on all grounds except perhaps to save the mothers physical life. However this is not the full impact that these two justices will have on American life. It is expected they will make decisions that increase police powers while reducing civil liberties, economic decisions that will shift economic burdens onto the middle class and deprive those in the lowest economic class with a minimal safety net necessary for survival. Other rulings will benefit the wealthy, which include the great corporations that dominate American economic life. Exxon is already making the greatest profits in its history because of Bush’s Middle-East policies. Exxon reported 36.3 billion in profits in 2005, which came out of the pockets of those that buy gasoline and heating oil. The oil companies were big beneficiaries of Bush’s “tax relief” read (corporate welfare) legislation.
He commended himself on the fact he had made great strides in tax relief, a euphemism for shifting the burden of taxation from wealthiest Americans to the middle class. The same middle class which has been shrinking under his Presidency as the number of people living below the poverty line is 35.9 million (as of the last U.S. Census Bureau report in 2004) up 1.3 million since 2002. Also the number of persons with without health care rose from 43.5 million to 45 million under his economic policies. Thus his allusion to the benefits of his taxation policies are meaningless to most Americans who have been hurt by the policies and some have actually slid into poverty or just as devastating lost access to health care. And these figures only cover the initial years of his presidency. The Census Bureau has not released more current figures, but it is expected that because of the trends set in motion by Bush’s domestic policies the figures will be worse for the average American.
The Federal debt, which is at 8.2 trillion dollars and increasing at the rate of 2.14 billion a day, was not mentioned in his address. This was the debt that the triumvirate of ex-president Clinton, former Secretary of State Rubin and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Gerald Greeenspan had reduced and scheduled for payoff somewhere during the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century. Bush’s profligate taxation and spending legislation vastly increased the national debt because of his “tax relief” policies. This was only possible because of the sound economic policies of the Clinton administration and the fact interest rates are low because Asian nations are banking their trade surpluses in U.S. Treasury Bonds. If it were not for these facts interest rates would be for or five points higher than they are now and there would have been no refinance boom allowing Americans to trade off the equity in their homes for current consumption thus spending funds they may some day wish they had kept for their retirement.
He referred to job creation of 4.6 million new jobs in the last two and half years. What kind of jobs? The kind that will support a family or the kind that renders a family of four to a life of getting by below the poverty line and with out health insurance or ready access to health care. As pointed out above under Bush those people living in poverty are increasing in America.
His foreign policies have been a total failure. Yes, he got rid of the Taliban in Afghanistan only to create a narco-state producing eighty percent of the illegal heroin grown in the world much of which ends up in the arms of young people in the U.S. and Europe. This vast increase in heroin production is possible because the central government in Afghanistan not strong enough to control the warlords that really run the country. This weakness was caused by the diversion of military resources for the war in Iraq. A secondary effect if not a primary one is the fact that the samediverted resources allowed Bin Laden and other members Al-Queda to escape capture and now regularly appear on television sneering and threatening western civilization.
He said that we must be patient and wait for the flowering of democracy in Iraq. This assertion is made despite the fact his own military generals are saying we are militarily over extended in that country and that is why we can’t provide peace and security there. The rebuilding of Iraq was supposed to be paid by increased oil revenues brought about by winning the war and the application of American technology to Iraqi oil production. This would have held world oil prices down and befitted the population of Iraq. However the fact is oil production has declined in Iraq since the beginning of the war and continues to decline as the insurgents sabotage daily oil production, thus contributing to the economic instability of the world as well as Iraq. As it stands now there are shortages of electric power and gasoline that are crippling Iraq and its people. The new “democracy” in the Iraq is tipping towards an Islamic theocracy if it survives the insurgency made up of many foreign Islamic fundamentalists who also favor an Islamic state. An Islamic state has nothing to do with a democratic state and much to do with the type of government we saw under the Taliban, a backward autocratic theocracy hostile to western values.
Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East has failed. We now have in Iran a theocratic state based on fundamentalist Islamic ideas that is developing nuclear weapons capability. This is the Iran that has supported terrorism in Israel and Lebanon. It has funded terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. Recently Hamas has been elected into a majority position in Palestine. This is an organization also committed to fundamentalist Islamic principles and a sworn enemy of Israel, as is Iran. Bush talked about spreading democracy in the Middle East and said their democracy may be different from our democracy. You can be sure that any fundamentalist group democratically elected will be unlikely to yield power in a subsequent election. Under Bush things have gone from bad to worse in the Middle East and the likelihood of war between Iran, Hamas and Israel is increasing daily.
The view of the world that Bush gave in his speech is not a brave new world full of opportunity for the average American but one off less economic opportunity and security and one of a greater military threat to the oilfields of the Saudi Arabia, the life blood of the industrial nations of the world.
So who is living in a fool’s paradise?
Mr. Bush or the American people and in particular those Americans who voted for him?