The Financial Times has had some interesting articles recently about the challenges America is facing under the Bush Administration. They have a certain way of putting things in perspective:
President George W. Bush likes to say that his job is to confront big problems, not leave them to those who follow. As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address he has been forced to tackle the issues bequeathed him by the man who has occupied the White House for the past five years: himself.
And when they reach a conclusion, they don’t hold back. Here is their assessment of the Bush administration’s economic policies:
There is only one end to this scenario: higher interest rates. A vigilant Federal Reserve Board will have to boost rates to suppress demand, just as during the Johnson administration. The pressure for higher rates will be even greater given the forthcoming retirement of Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman. His replacement will need to convince financial markets that the Board remains determined to keep inflation in check. The consequences will be a slowdown or worse.
As the rebuilding effort slows, high interest rates and high gasoline prices may pull the economy into recession. Like President Johnson, President Bush took a chance and lost.
So the next question might be how the Defense Department can rephrase the term “lost” into something more palatable. The “Information Operations Roadmap” mission suggests that they are actively spreading propaganda abroad and even at home:
Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military’s psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.
Or maybe the question should be why the US federal government now represents a giant funnel of money to rather specialized interests. The Economist, aside from making fun of Senator Grassley for the Iowa rainforest boondoggle, hints at the real problem:
Lobbyists are not the disease, merely the symptom. Their numbers (in Washington) have doubled in the past five years, to 35,000, because federal spending has grown larger and more wasteful. Earmarks have proliferated under the Republicans, from 1,439 in 1995 to 13,997 last year.