Ridin' The Economy Coaster
One of the things that I've noticed from the various Republican administrations I've lived with is that they are perfectly willing to manipulate the economy in an effort to get what they want.
Take Reagan, for example. The economy wasn't doing too well after Jimmy Carter's stewardship, and it seemed to me that Reagan thought it would be a good time to do a few things that he'd wanted to do. That was when he went after PATCO and showed corporate America how to bust unions while the government would hold their coats. The economy went into recession, and didn't come out until the run up to the 1984 election. Reagan ran on his economic record, and won reelection, and the economy was allowed to slide back again in order to protect Reagan's tax cuts, although it didn't slide back as far as it did in 1982.
As George HW Bu$h prepared his run for the White House, the economy picked up again, enough to assist Bu$h'$ victory against the limp Michael Dukakis, but as many of us remember, Bu$h got so fixated on scoring points with the Kuwaiti oil sheiks that he let the economy wallow in the tar sands - and Bill Clinton eliminated his chances for reelection.
Clinton had a big mess on his hands from these years of Republican misfeasance, and it took years for his team to straighten it all out - which they did. Clinton's handling of the economy will be why the historians will treat his presidency with respect, impeachment over Monica or no. Never had so many Americans been employed, and never had there been such pressure on the minimum wage. Employable bodies were now a rare commodity, and the law of supply and demand kicked in.
This didn't sit well with the economic elites of this nation, who very much prefer to BENEFIT from supply and demand issues over being subjected to them. This is when they began to pull their money out of the American economy, and sent it to other lands via Clinton's gifts to multinational corporatism - NAFTA and GATT. But even with the massive amounts leaving this nation, it still took until the final months of the Clinton regime for its effects to be felt by the common worker. As Larry Kudrow of National Review Online put it:
Consumer spending never once declined in the recession of 2000-01. This is because middle-class income actually increased by nearly 5 percent between 2000 and 2002, according to the latest IRS statistics.
I believe it to be fair to say that this lack of decline in middle-class income was the last gasp of the Clinton economic policies as they were being replaced by the Bu$h policies.
We all know what happened since then. The recession became quite deep, and we are struggling to rise from it still, but what little benefit has been derived from ending deferred gratification and fulfilling suppressed demand DID show up in time to convince some that the Bu$h policies were working. I doubt that it would have made much of a difference for Bu$h if he didn't have that 'morals' thing bringing Bu$hi$ta$ to the polls, but it's still there.
So where does it go from here?
Deep federal deficits are driving the fiscal conservatives up the wall. As I've heard on some of the network news shows since the election, Congress isn't likely to back any more cuts in taxes. This will remove any ability of the Bu$h (mis)Administration to sustain this weak recovery trend (I hesitate to call this blip a real recovery - I see too many people still losing their jobs), and once this year's weak Christmas sales are completed (stores out here in the Inland Empire are already having Christmas sales with cut prices), the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate will be too busy paying off Bu$hCo debts to the Christian Right to deal effectively with the economic troubles looming.
It's already become known that Bu$hCo will be borrowing heavily this next quarter, and the Terra wars aren't going to ease their burdens any time soon. Oil is going to continue upward in price even if we are currently enjoying a mild easement of that trend.
All of these issues are going to be used as reasons to continue hammering the American workforce with new initiatives designed to further enhance profitability of multinational corporations. The time for this particular window is only about 12-15 months, for with the arrival of the midterm campaign season along about March of 2006, things have to be allowed to ease once again lest the Democrats find their feet with an issue which resonates with the people. Can't have those godless commie pinko homo tree hugging lib'ruls unseat God's Congress, now can we?
Now the projection becomes less clear, and I'm forced to make some conjectures. The engineer in me chooses to take the worst-case scenario to show just how bad it can get. You might want to keep your beryllium beret handy - it could get hazardous to your sense of stability.
Bu$h succeeds in stemming any attempts by the 'loyal' opposition to weaken his majorities in Congress, and in fact improves upon them. Let's say that he's achieved what has to be a current Republican goal - 60+ Senatorial seats.
Now it's Katy bar the door!
The last of the New Deal legislation will be fair game. The Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act all fall quickly. Other legislation making it illegal to belong to a labor union is pased, and then it's on to those laws which protected consumers. Somewhere in this feeding frenzy a couple of bills are snuck through to repeal the various civil rights Amendments so that the Christian Right can reconstruct the Confederacy - slaves and all. What protests arise from all of this are quickly strangled by the newly strengthened Patriot Acts, which makes it a crime to be in the vicinity of anyone who is known not to be a registered White Christian Conservative.
Somewhere in here, the rest of the world gets tired of being pushed by Bu$h. The EU Constitution is ratified, and what amounts to the United States of Europe moves quickly to eliminate any American influence in their internal, economic, and military affairs. In Asia: China, Japan, and India form the Son of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and Korea and Australia and the Southeast Asian nations flock to that banner. China also anchors a Central Asian confederation which draws together rival nations like Pakistan and Russia, who acts as the go-between between Europe and Asia, Playing both off against the Russian middle. These confederations exert influence with the Muslim countries of the Middle East, and use this influence to keep the US tied up and unable to respond to international challenges elsewhere.
China also exerts influence in Africa, assisting African nations to emulate both Europe and Asia in forming a continental alliance, which while shaky, is better than what they had prior. African nations then have a better position from which to bargain with the Western powers, which China is more than willing to exploit - especially against the United States.
South America becomes the main area of contention. With strong historical ties to the North, but with growing economic ties to Asia, money talks and history walks. South American grievances against the North are aggavated by Bu$hCo policies of interference in their internal affairs for the benefit of American-owned multinational corporations and exploited by China to conduct a sort of Cold War against the US without appearing to do so. The rest of the world gets a piece of the Chinese action and aren't in the slightest feeling guilty over turning away from the US, because they will feel by that time we had it coming.
This brings us to what should be the end of the Bu$h years, but I'm sure that somewhere in here a real or staged terror attack occurs in the US and Bu$h has taken on the mantle of ruler for life in act if not in fact. the stage has been set for a modern remake of the Great War on a scale much larger than its successor covered. This time, nukes will likely be used early on, and the Armageddon so desired by the Christian Fundamentalists will be on.
I hope they will be happy with what they find there. Too bad about the Rapture, though. You got stuck staying here and enjoying the fruits of your political labors just like the rest of us!
OK, take off the beryllium beret. I'm done.
There is a lot that could - and should, frankly - go differently than I've hypothesized. I did assume above that the True Conservatives remain on the sidelines while Bu$h wreaks havoc. Reality suggests that they will not. It also assumes that the liberal community continues to be shunned by the conservative, something else I doubt will happen much longer.
There are many other variables too numerous to mention that will affect my projection, so this can't be taken as a prediction of events to come. If I were that good I'd predict winning Lotto numbers and retire from this rat race and enjoy what life I have left! I hardly want to remain a part of the working class upon which the Toppers have declared war! Again!