Tuesday, November 27, 2007

today : It REALLY IS all Bush's fault.

Last weeks headline was that each American family has spent 20,000 dollars on the war - totalling 2 trillion dollars. But in actual fact that total is closer to 40,000, given that fuel prices in the US have risen at an insane rate. Less trumpeted than the tax figures was the fact that the major oil companies have increased their profits by 2 trillion. Effectively another tax on Americans, and easily trashing the Bush tax cuts from his first term. No wonder the housing market has started to collapse. People are spending all their cash on getting to work and the supermarket.

I still believe that the Bush presidency was based entirely on one simple principle: to help big oil leach the country for as much cash as they could. It is a very clever strategy.The war in Iraq is nothing but a big political funnel, designed to pour cash into the coffers of Bush cronies for years to come. And the oil companies don't even have to speculate to accumulate like other business. It's a no risk deal because not only will the government underwrite the whole project, they will use ordinary tax-payers money to finance it all. The 30 billion of contracts awarded to Halliburton and the like in Iraq were just an apertif. The real cash has and will come in having oil at 100 dollars a barrel. And you can explain it all away by playing the peak oil game - telling the public that this blatant price-gouging is nothing to do with foreign policy and cronyism, but the fact that oil is running out.

It's misdirection worthy of Derren Brown. The government maintains its base by scaring decent conservative people into believing their opponents will legislate to force all All-American sons to turn gay and get married to Queens, insist that every woman should have mandatory abortions and ban prayer, not just in schools, but in the whole country. It is the equivalent of shouting 'look at that!' (in a Barry Davies voice) in order to take a sneaky bite of someone's sandwich.

It is now very clear that the Bush administration has been up there in terms of the worst of all time. The fact is that they have deliberately let down everyone. Including the type of conservative middle Americans that they purport to represent. And the misery is gradually catching up with us over here. The Northern Rock crisis can be directly traced back to the cavalier attitude the Republicans have had to spending and running up deficits. The knock on effect will probably be a house price slowdown in the British economy, interest rate cuts and and bump in inflation. Which kind of undoes all the relatively decent work that Gordon Brown did in flattening the economic cycle and avoiding recession over ten years. How ironic that, now he is PM, Brown is likely to face the most testing economic climate for a decade.

The key thing he had in his favour at the start in 1997 was Clinton's and his balanced budget. Bill was probably the most economically reliable President of recent times. Brown was able to ride the wave of stability for several years before the Republicans' endless spending spree started to kick in.

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