What a remarkable speech that was from President George Bush – remarkably bad that is.
Speaking to the American people on prime time television last night, the first time in over a year, Bush portrayed the massive economic crisis confronting the United States – and the world – almost as if it was a natural phenomenon like Hurricane Katrina.
‘We are in the midst of a national economic crisis’ warned Bush, as if ‘the economic crisis’ had just arrived from the Gulf of Mexico. I was half expecting him to tell the American people to stock up on canned food and make sure they had enough batteries for they’re transistor radios.
Bush then went on to tell us about the effects of the economic storm ravaging the country. It all boiled down to the simple reality that the United States economy is being buried under a avalanche of debt, sweeping finance companies, banks, mortgage companies and ordinary families down into the economic abyss
But who’s responsible for the mess? Could it have anything to do with the Bush administration's free market policies?
Bush, of course, didn’t own up. No surprises there from the President who insisted that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
But nor did he point the finger of responsibility at any of the other obvious culprits like the Wall Street speculators who have been getting fat on increasingly speculative mortgage-backed securities.
Bush made it sound like the economic crisis was an act of fate, a natural phenomena that no one or no organization was responsible for. Indeed, investment companies had merely 'found' themselves ‘saddled with debt’ while banks had somehow ended up with an awful lot of bad loans on the books. It just happened – just like that. Bush, when it comes down the nitty-gritty, always backs his corporate mates.
Yes, no one is to blame was Bush’s message and he still insisted that ‘democratic capitalism’ is the best economic and political system the world had ever seen.
But Bush still wants $750 billion to prop up the all-conquering ‘democratic capitalism’ and he resorted to scare mongering to whip up fear about the consequences of Wall Street not getting the money.
He said that more banks could fail, the stock market could plummet and erase retirement accounts, and businesses could find it hard to get credit and be forced to close, wiping out jobs for millions of Americans.
Indeed, said Bush, America could be caught in a ‘widespread financial panic’. Presumably its presently a 'limited financial panic'.
But Bush has no idea whether such a massive bailout of corporate America will even work – but he’s still prepared to plunder the pockets of ordinary Americans in order to find out.
He’s hoping like hell that the proposed bailout will stop the meltdown but it could already be too late.