The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Don't tax the rich, and spend

The federal government is a powerful institution. Many of its founding, organizing principles have to do with protecting the individual from more powerful entities: enemy states, corporations, other rich people, the government itself. The Bill of Rights outlines many of these principles. And so, if one wants to eliminate the power of individuals, which this administration is moving mightily towards doing, you have to hamstring the federal government. You have to impoverish the federal government and leave individuals without rights, or at least with no financial apparatus to defend those rights. You have to break the government and leave it broken. The answer? Spend big and cut taxes. Spend so big and cut taxes so deeply that the government is left crippled, unable to carry out even its most basic functions.

For example, the GAO has some policing function for the government itself. When the GAO sued Dick Cheney and his energy task force to release its papers (they are, after all, public servants), they lost their initial ruling in December. The GAO has now decided not to pursue an appeal of this decision, citing among other things, a lack of funds. So the government can't police internal corruption. This makes W's friends happy.

The SEC is being starved of funding, even as the slightly tougher oversight laws coming after Enron and similar scandals are being defanged. This makes W's friends happy.

As Eleanor Clift points out, soon the deficit and debt will be so large as to preclude Social Security and Medicare. The predictions of the doomsayers, who thought SS would not be there for them, will turn out to be true, because both programs will be starved when the baby boomers start to retire. The programs will be gone, or morphed into unrecognizable shades of their former selves, effectively dissolving the social safety net for our older citizens. It will be with great schadenfreude that the world will observe baby boomers who vilified Clinton and mocked Gore and voted for Shrub wondering where their government retirement benefits went. This makes W's friends happy.

The golden goose is about to be killed for the shortest of short-term gains. And like every one of W's policies, this is the easy way out. I'm struck by how much of what animates the Bush administration just seems like laziness. It is easy to destroy, but much harder to create. Clinton and Gore worked like the devil to create a more fair tax code, one which worked to everyone's benefit. They, and people before them, worked to create international agreements and treaties. Good government employees from years ago have worked to create scientific advisory boards, to create good government based on policy analysis and research. All of this has gone out the window in favor of the easy path of destruction. Fragile treaties, arms agreements, and balances of power are swept away by this administration. The peace, a fragile state in any case, is destroyed. The hard-won, through fiscal discipline, budget surplus is spent before it is even realized. Policy boards and panels are packed with idealogues. The exactly wrong people are put in charge of government agencies (our anti-labor Labor secretary, our rapacious secretary of the interior, our anti-environmental head of EPA, our anti-regulation head of SEC). The very protections which keep each of us safe and strong are mockingly torn down, henhouses protected by oligarch foxes. We are in for some very hard choices in the future.

Deficit Watch

Thanks to Gary for this article, in which Nobel laureate economists decide that Bushco is not acting in the best interests of the country.

Iraq Watch

In breaking news, there is apparently a new voice recording of Osama Bin Laden, encouraging the Muslims in Iraq to resist the US. And also, by the way, to rise up and overthrow Saddam, which I guess makes Bin Laden our ally against Saddam. Who knows if this recording is real, or to what extent the administration will use it for their own purposes? However, the controversy is that many news outlets are editing out this phrase from the translation:
"At the same time, the message also called on Iraqis to rise up and oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who is a secular leader."
Obviously, this smacks of editing the news to the benefit of the regime, a job only Winston Smith could love. Read comments of angry democrats about this development and also look here, where someone has captured a screen shot of the original story, before it was scrubbed. Welcome to the age of censored news.

The British see right through all of this Bush-wah. I guess having the British press, which isn't a totally bought and paid for subsidiary of Bushco, can have an ameliorating effect on public opinion.

See this for a take on the Powell presentation to the UN which you may not have seen in the mainstream press. You'll see in this an example of the Republican's use of the unrealistic deadline, which they used again to good effect in the coup of 2000.

More on the British intelligence paper on Iraq, touted by Powell and lifted from a graduate student.

Conservative Idiots Watch

An excellent Top Ten Conservative Idiots

Outrage Watch

Tom Tomorrow sums up what a lot of us are feeling these days.

Humor Watch

Well, it's not exactly humor, it is just what Dubya says.

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