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(DV) Williamson: Watching George Bush Trying to Pull a Rabbit Out of His Hat







Watching George Bush Trying to Pull a Rabbit Out of His Hat
by Harold Williamson
April 30, 2005

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First it was Saddam's WMD's.  Now as a result of the Bush administration's bloody quagmire in Iraq coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy, the federal budget is swimming in red ink and the economy is literally going in the tank. So how can a president in this predicament save his political hide? 

George Bush is using psychological diversion, the oldest ploy in the book used by conjurers for centuries to create illusions by diverting attention away from reality.  This time it's called "social security reform."

In order for this to work, our charlatan-du-jour in the White House is counting on the credulity of the American public, because one cannot achieve the presidency without owing the rich and powerful big bucks.  That is why, in spite of widespread opposition to privatizing social security, President Bush is not taking "NO!" for an answer and refuses to change the subject.

Social security does not need fixing, and it is perhaps the only thing in America that doesn't. Even assuming that social security did need fixing, it does not need Bush's kind of "fix" that a veterinarian would perform on a promiscuous tomcat.  That kind of "fix" should be reserved where it will do the most good not only for the American people, but also the rest of the world: the U.S. military industrial complex.

Friday's newspaper reviews of Bush's prime time dog and pony show on social security reform didn't merit the cost of the paper and ink used to print them.  And since Bush admits to not reading newspapers, let me cover what he ignored in the real world last week: The Commerce Department reported that high energy costs are sapping the purchasing power of consumers and sinking the U.S. economy while at the same time Exxon Mobil Corp. reported the FIFTH LARGEST QUARTERLY PROFIT IN U.S. HISTORY!  Two-thirds of that $7.8 billion booty was generated by oil and gas revenues.

Yet the only thing on Bush's brain these days is social security reform.  But that is precisely what can be expected with big oil interests influencing economic and foreign policy decisions.

I don't know very much about economics, but then neither do most economists.  There is something very wrong where high Wall Street profits only "trickle down" hardship on most Americans.  The disparity between Wall Street and Main Street is enormous.  The vast majority of Americans rely on wages and not capital gains to make a living.  And for the most part, wage increases have not even kept up with inflation, which in turn is being fueled primarily by higher energy costs.

Beneath all this is a weak job market that has left millions of Americans either without a job or with no bargaining power if they do.  And in such a climate it is unlikely that many of those with jobs will survive long enough without health insurance to afford retirement.  So much for social security reform.

And what about the next generation of Americans that Bush seems to be so worried about when it comes time for them to retire?  First they will need to begin by finding a job. According to a story in Friday's Chicago Tribune, the percentage of teenagers working in the U.S. fell to a historic low last year: "The national employment rate for people ages 16 to 19 dropped to 36.3 percent in 2004, the lowest annual average since 1948, when the federal government began making such estimates." The article went on to say that this figure represented teens looking for summer and after-school jobs as well as those seeking full-time work.  Those in the 20 to 24 age group also experienced a decline, although it was less dramatic.

But the worst is yet to come.  Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, suspects that the reasons for this decline is because more immigrants and older workers are being hired for jobs that used to be the domain for teens. These workers do not have the scheduling and other issues of younger workers. They do, however, have the same issues that will effect the younger group all their lives if this trend continues: an economy geared to line the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

The only useful purpose of an economy is to benefit all who live within it.  George Bush and his neocon supporters  need to be convinced of this fact and that everyone in American is sailing on the same economic ship;  if it sinks we will all drown regardless of the class of our berth.  And without a ship, social security won't save a single soul.

Harold Williamson is a Chicago-based independent scholar. He can be reached at:  Copyright © 2005, Harold Williamson

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Other Articles by Harold Williamson

* Shooting the Messenger Who Reported Human Rights Abuses in Afghanistan
* Agent Orange -- Thirty Years After
* Truth in Humor
* Redefining America
* The Missing WMD: Bush's Red Herring
* The Darkness in America
* Spinning The Vietnam War: What Goes Around Comes Around
* None Dare Call It Murder
* It Isn't God Who is Crazy
* Don't Trust Anybody Over Thirty
* Faith in the Postmodern World
* Remember Who The Enemy Is
* Obscenity, A Sign of the Times and the Post
* Thinking Anew: A Do-It-Yourself Project
* America's Blind Faith in Government
* Think Tanks and the Brainwashing of America
* Bully for the Bush Doctrine: A Natural History Perspective