February 05, 2008

Co-Dependent Nation

The stock market is tanking again today (in the morning, as I write), an indication that the Plunge Protection Team meeting in the basement of the White House is running out of gas. They just don't have the scratch to do it all by themselves, folks. Look, all you American Idol fans: you've got to do your part. Isn't there anything you want to buy right now, even if you're unemployed and you've missed your last two mortgage payments? Where's your sense of commitment? The "service sector" numbers are down, and since "service sector" = "the economy," we've got a real problem. And the American consumer is causing it. How can we put this to you? Try this: Buy shit or die.

I've been watching Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson bob and weave before a Senate committee this morning, and he's valiantly striving to explain how Bush's last budget can be reconciled with his pledge to balance the books by ...some date in the future. The current estimate calls for an "official" deficit of $409 billion; however, it must be pointed out that this number fails to include anything, even though everyone knows that huge expenses are being deliberately left out in order to maintain the fiction that Bush's "budget balancing" is an actual phenomenon and not the reality distortion of a dry drunk trying to convince himself he's done something he hasn't.

You can see how the personality problems of our national father engender anxiety symptoms in his citizen-children. How come Daddy still refuses to admit that he's not including the Social Security surplus of $200 billion in his calculations? So that takes our deficit to $607 billion. And what about the uncounted "emergency appropriations" for Iraq & Afghanistan, which apparently will add up to $70 billion? So we're up to $677 billion. And then the "stimulus package" of $150 billion, taking us to $827 billion, or twice the official figure. That's about 25% of the total budget of $3.1 trillion, and will take the national debt to about $10 trillion when Bush leaves office.

The Senators, however, are obviously afraid to point out Daddy's problem. He's addicted to military spending. No matter how bad his financial situation gets, he absolutely insists that his war jones has nothing to do with it. He's got it under control. He needs it, in fact. While we're talking about that, this year he'd like more money to feed the monkey. He wants to cut medical research, education funding, subsidies for seniors freezing to death because of high fuel oil costs, transportation funding (like resurfacing our washboard roads), benefits for veterans getting maimed in his wars, but dammit -- give me that military money!

Gee whiz, it does seem that until someone has the guts to point out to Daddy he's got a huge problem, and that he's nowhere near his fantasized goals, that we're going to remain stuck on Step One. Where we've been, unfortunately, since January, 2001.

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