Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Bush Legacy

Cause and effect.

It amazes how disconnected we can be from the cause of our problems - we are so focused on the effect. It is the reason that little is learned from history. One thing is certain, however. Barack Obama is not the cause of our problems.

In the coming year, we’ll see a continuation of our economic decline. The housing market collapse will continue along with an epidemic of corporate consolidations and bankruptcies. The future of the auto industry is in doubt. Credit markets will continue to remain tight. 2009 sizes up to be a historically bad year.

We’re already hearing the economic chaos racing through our system described as  “Obama’s recession”, and he’s not even sworn in yet.  Conservative factions smell blood in the water. The bloom will fade in record time if we’re not mindful. When in pain, (and will there ever be pain), there will be those that will blame whatever leadership is in power.

Let’s keep these facts in mind.

The collapse in the banking system, the brokerage system, and subsequently the equities markets, was caused by deregulation and a lack of transparency. It was also caused by our attitude towards debt, by our addiction to economic growth, both personally and as a nation.

It is certainly more than just the money, although that has become our focus. The damage that has been done to the U.S. in the court of world opinion will take decades to restore.

So, as the Obama tenure becomes an opportunity for conservative factions to vent   economic and societal frustrations, to place blame, lets review some recent history.

Here is an incomplete summary of the Bush legacyI encourage you to add to this list.  We can then post it to our refrigerators, a reminder what the sacrifice ahead is all about. 

  • Under the Bush Administration, we spent the U.S. surplus, effectively bankrupting the U.S. Treasury, while shattering the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
  • In the administration’s first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs -
and that trend continues. During Bush’s tenure, we:                                               
    • Set the all-time record for the most private bankruptcies filed in any
12-month period
    • The all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month
    • The all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. 

Not all of us have been hurt, however.

  • The current members of the cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history
  • Exxon Mobil set records for the single largest quarterly profit in history.

George Bush set the record for most the campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President. The Bush campaigns set the all-time U.S. and world record for corporate campaign donations.

  • Bush’s largest lifetime campaign contributor, (and a close personal friend), was Kenneth Lay. Lay presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron.
  • More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent in the ensuing Enron investigation.

During the Bush years, we experienced our country’s broadest energy crisis, accompanied by rampant speculation in the oil commodities market and the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

Bush is the first President in US. History to order an unprovoked, preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation, and did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. Citizens and the world community.

  • We invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over
10 billion dollars per month. We then created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States Government.
  • The Bush Administration has cut health care benefits for war veterans, and supports reductions in benefits for active troops and their families.

Under George Bush’s watch we have broken more international treaties than any during any administration in U.S. history.

  • Bush is the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
  • Bush withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. 
  • Bush refused to allow inspectors access to U.S. prisoner of war detainees, and thereby have refused to abide by the rules of the Geneva Convention. 
  • Bush is the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).

We’ve had very little interaction with our “chief executive”. He set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

  • Bush also set the record for most days on vacation in any one-year
period. After taking off the entire month of August 2001, he presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
  • Less than a year after the World Trade Center attacks, the U.S. was the most hated country in the world. It was the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
  • Bush is the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans
(71%) view his presidency as the single biggest threat to world peace and security.
  • Bush has so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. 
  • All records of Bush’s tenure as governor of Texas are now in the George H.W. Bush library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
  • All records of SEC investigations into allegations of Bush’s insider trading and the records of his bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
  • All records or minutes from meetings regarding public energy policy, that Bush or Vice-President Cheney attended, are sealed in secrecy.

So please feel free to add to this legacy list. We’re looking for additions, not embellishment or venting. We can then look at what our part in this fiasco was.

As hard as it gets through 2009 and 2010, we must remember how much better off we already are. As the bottom approaches, we can remember that our sacrifices will be worth it. 


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