The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘George W Bush’

FINGER POINTING

Mother once gave me a lecture on politeness which included the phrase, “It’s very rude to point your finger at someone.”  Apparently, those who are the copy writers for political ads and those candidates who conclude them by saying, “I’m So and So and I approve this message,” never got the same talking to from their own parents.  More’s the pity.

When people brought Barack Obama into the White House in 2008 it was on a theme of “Hope and Change”.  Things were tough.  We knew they were tough.  The newly elected President campaigned on the theme that while things were tough, he was going to fix all that.

Simply put, he didn’t.  In fact, by many metrics, those things that were tough have gotten even tougher.  The current mantra of the President’s ads is that things are actually getting better; that he has a plan which needs time to work; and that we should stick with him for another term.  It is an ad featuring a far less confrontational Obama than we have seen during the last four years.

Much of the hyperbole about why things are tough and it’s going to take longer than he thought to get everything working again, is his predecessor, President George W. Bush.  Apparently, virtually everything that has gone awry in the universe since the Big Bang is the fault of this misanthrope from Texas.  But let’s examine the facts for a moment – that is for those of you who think that facts matter.

Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics provided the Unemployment Report for September.  It showed that from the previous month, the rate of unemployment went from 7.8% to 7.9%.  I have attached the link to this report for you to review.  No matter how we garner our information, I believe that it is essential for the intelligent individual to do her or his own research and make sure that the sources on which they are relying are honest and factual.  That is one of the reasons I seldom listen to the popular media for my news.

http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/lauhsthl.htm

There are two items on the report that leap off the page at me.  The first is then candidate Obama’s claim that he would bring unemployment down to a mere 5.2%.  There is only one state in which that is the case, Iowa which can boast the lowest unemployment rate in the country with only 5.2%.

I guess that there a lot of ways that you can spin this – and which all the President’s men will spin it – if they choose to acknowledge it at all.  But my take on this is that for those residents of 49 of the 50 states, Obama has failed to deliver on this specific promise.  Because I always like to hear alternative views, please feel free to leave a comment should you have a different interpretation.

The second item that appears obvious from this report is that under President Bush’s watch, 35 out of the 50 states enjoyed the lowest levels of unemployment since they started recording these statistics.  Check the list out for yourself to verify this statement.  And what was the average rate of unemployment in those states during those awful years while Bush was in charge?  The answer – 2.91%.  In other words, going from the years in which we enjoyed the lowest unemployment rates under President Bush to the current statistics under President Obama, we have seen a 271% rise in the rate of unemployment.

The President’s most recent kinder gentler ad suggests that his “plan” is working and we should just stick with him.  As does another ad that is narrated by Morgan Freeman that beings, “Every President inherits challenges..”.  Well, back to our old nemesis President Bush.

There is no question that President Bush’s policies gave rise to a substantial increase in the National Debt.  Part of that was financing wars which he deemed in our “national interest” and part of that was accompanying those with tax reductions, best known as the “Bush tax cuts”.  Every householder knows that if you reduce your income and spend more than you take in, eventually you’ll run out of money.  And we have.

Sadly, President Bush was a mere novice in delivering a message of under-earning and overspending which is why under President Obama we have seen an increase in the official National Debt of $6 Trillion, a 60% increase in a mere four years to a record $16 Trillion.  Part of that increase is certainly due to the tax cuts that were put in place in 2001/2003 and which are set to expire on December 31st of this year.

Did you notice the dates when those decreases were enacted?  They became effective eleven years ago.  Mitt Romney has argued in favor of continuing them as they currently stand on the books – at least until such the time that the economy really begins humming.  This is his plan to “benefit the rich by slashing their taxes $200,000 per year” of which he is accused in almost every Obama ad.  We have been living with this plan for over a decade – so I hardly think that Gov. Romney deserves either credit or opprobrium for thinking it up.

But there is a further point that I would like to make.  Those who have been employed during the past decade, as a result of the Bush tax cuts, received an average additional amount of take home income of about $50 per week.

The first time your paycheck reflected this increase, do you recall either saying yourself or hearing a co-worker say, “You know, I’m kind of worried.  If we keep spending more than we’re taking in, we might run into trouble six or seven years down the road.”  Or did you happily accept the increase, take your wife out for a nice dinner, buy a couple of new electronic gizmos and trade up to a newer model car?

“Give the people what they want.”  It’s an old political saying.  And Americans want and believe we’re entitled to a lot – perhaps more than we truly deserve.  It’s really a pity that when it comes to electing people who are going either to run the country or run it into the ground, we have expectations that are far lower.

And I guess that if I have to point a finger at anyone, (sorry Mom) it would be at those of us who think this is an acceptable way to run a country – or anything else.

WHO REALLY CAUSED 9/11?

I was speaking the other day with several people who were Obama supporters.  As I always enjoy hearing people’s well-informed opinions, I asked them what it was that the President had accomplished that most impressed them.

As I waited for a response, I noticed a lot of hemming and hawing as people tried to put their finger on something specific which they liked about the President’s policies.  The answer I got from most was, “Well, he’s a lot better than Bush – and all the problems we’re having are because of Bush.  They’re not Obama’s fault.”

I have an historical perspective of the world so the fact that the President of the United States might “inherit” problems from his predecessor is a thesis which I am willing to consider.  Combine my historical view with my interest in science fiction (how a change in the “time line” might have a profound effect on the future) and I am right in my element.  Allow me to offer a few examples.

An ordinary man, a husband, a businessman and the father of two is returning from a long day at the office.  Suddenly he runs over a massive pot hole in the street, loses control of his car and is killed.  The world will be a different one for his survivors, his neighbors and his business associates because of this tragedy.  However, his death will probably not have a profound impact on the world – because, as I said, he was an “ordinary” person.

A second case involves WW II.  Can you imagine how different our world would be if Adolph Hitler had succeeded in defeating the Allies?  If I were even alive to write this, no doubt I would be doing so in German, not English.  That change in what happened historically would have profound implications for our world and how we would have been living our lives for the last seventy years.

Certainly as  President of the United States the decisions and policies that that person makes are going to have a profound effect on the future of this country, its citizens and the world.  For that reason I wanted to consider the explanation that “it’s all President Bush’s fault.”  And in the interest of trying to find another instance where history determines the future I considered the tragedy that befell us on 9/11/01.  Who truly was to blame for this disaster?

I was born in Manhattan and as I watched the first plane crash into the Twin Towers I cannot describe my horror or my feeling of emptiness and disbelief.  This was an assault not only on my country but on my hometown.  I took this personally.  As the tragedy unfolded and the towers collapsed, I realized that I had three business associates whose offices were in those buildings.  Days later I learned that they had died.  I took their deaths personally – very personally.

In the days and weeks following, as I emerged from the emotional numbness that I’m sure most of us felt, I began listening to the reports about what had happened.  For the first time I heard the name Osama bin Laden.  I didn’t know the man – but I didn’t like him.  I didn’t like the sense of fear that most of us experienced, constantly looking overhead to see if another plane was going to drop out of the sky.  I didn’t like the heightened sense of security and having to worry that there were cadres of other terrorists – some perhaps planted in this country years ago – who might any moment receive their assignment to perpetrate another horrific act.  I don’t think that any American, or for that matter any civilized person throughout the world, liked any of this.

But after my conversation about how all of our present problems stem from President Bush I decided to question the reports about who was really responsible for over three thousand deaths on 9/11.  Was it truly this bin Laden character – or was he merely the person who had set the wheels in motion for a plot that had been conceived many years prior and by someone else?

In 1626, Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan from the Lenape Indian tribe for a reported twenty-four dollars.  The Dutch settled in the lower end of the island and began building a home for themselves in this New World.  There was a great deal of land on Manhattan Island and relatively few settlers – so naturally the buildings were generally one story tall, two at the most.  But over the years, these settlers had children, new arrivals came to America and so the settlement grew outwardly and horizontally.  There was no lack of land to accommodate them.

Over several centuries New York became a much more densely populated place.  The land had pretty much been used up and there was a lot of overcrowding.  But then came Elisha Otis.  The year was 1854 and the place was the New York World’s Fair where Mr. Otis unveiled his greatest invention – the elevator.  This invention forever changed the landscape and the skyline of Manhattan and the world.

No longer were we restricted to building one and two story houses – we could build skyscrapers – and the Flat Iron, Chrysler and Empire State buildings could be born.  Of course, so could the Twin Towers.  Had it not been for the elevator and its inventor, there could have been no tragedy on 9/11 because there would have been no buildings to implode.  But if Mr. Otis had a hand in that day’s disaster, he was not alone in this nefarious plot.

Enter the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur.  We all have heard about their first flight in an airplane in Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903.  As culpable as Mr. Otis may have been in the 9/11 plot, his work was insufficient to carry it out.  He needed the help of others to complete this plan.  Had it not been for the Wright Brothers, mankind might have abandoned our dream of flying through the air in a machine.  And ultimately, it was the successors to their invention, today’s modern aircraft which enabled the co-conspirators to close the circle and engage in the devastation which occurred that fateful day.

Yes, the real perpetrators of 9/11 were the inventor of the elevator and those who gave us the gift of flight.  I believe my logic is consistent with my friends who support the precept that “everything is President Bush’s fault.”

But once set loose on a path and investigation I am as relentless as a pig looking for truffles.  Have I gone far enough – or is there more to be uncovered?

As I thought about it, if it had not been for George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, there would have been no America that the terrorists of 9/11 would grow to hate.  I must consider the possibility that our early American “patriots” might also have been involved in this plot.

I’ll let you know what I find out.

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