Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dreaming of a different world

What kind of world would it be if George Bush had not been “elected” president? Bush himself knew that many people thought his election was illegitimate. That is why after the U.S. Supreme Court essentially handed him the crown (Justice Sandra Day O’Connor would later say that she would not retire so long as a Democrat was president, so now she could retire with peace of mind), he would claim that he “heard” the American People, and he would not pursue his controversial $1.3 trillion tax cut that benefited almost exclusively the wealthiest Americans. We’ve heard this kind of talk before, of course; Republicans always claim that they have “heard” the People. The problem is they that they are listening to a very small minority that has a very large amount of bucks; in the 2001, it turned out that the rich and the powerful were heard with more clarity than “The People.” The Republicans listened to the corporate dog whistle and passed the massive tax cuts for the rich anyways—through budget reconciliation, because Democrats still claimed to “hear” the rest of the People. Today, of course, the Republicans still claim to hear the people—except that instead from backrooms, the rich and powerful are channeling their propaganda through Tea Party types.

Anyways, continuing the dream that Bush was not president. We would not have the massive budget deficits we are seeing now, not just because there would be no massive tax cuts for the rich, but because there would be considerable less warfare to pay for. Would 9-11 have occurred under an Al Gore presidency? We know that the Clinton administration warned the Bush people about a possible attack on U.S. soil by Al-Qaeda operatives. We also know that at least a month before the attack, the FBI warned the Bush people about possible attacks using jetliners as suicide bombs. We also know that the Bush administration essentially ignored these warnings as baseless (we think). If a Gore administration had acted on these warnings, it is certainly within the realm of reason that steps would have been taken to take more seriously reports from FBI field agents who reported suspicious activity by several of the terrorists who would eventually be involved in the 9-11 attacks. We also know, of course, that the Bush administration—intent on starting another war in Iraq—deliberately ratcheted-up the language of belligerence from the start, no doubt further inciting the terrorists.

Furthermore, it seems more likely that any “war”—if in fact the attack was successfully carried out—would have been limited to attacks on Al-Qaeda positions in Afghanistan and perhaps more serious attempts to take-out Bin Laden and his cohorts whatever means necessary, rather than waiting on the Taliban to “give-up” Bin Laden, which the Bush administration knew would not occur, but gave them an excuse to get their feet on the battleground. Even if a Gore administration had decided to put boots on the ground, we can presume that all resources necessary would have been deployed to the task, rather than faking it, and then becoming bogged down in Iraq. We can also presume that this war would have been a rather less expensive one to fight.

Since Gore is into “green,” we could also expect, without the problem of massive budget deficits created by massive tax cuts for the rich and a two-front war, that the country would have taken more concrete efforts at finding ways to offset the country’s dependence on foreign oil. There also wouldn’t have been the attempt to fleece the elderly and further enrich drug companies with the Medicare Part D program, which obliged the government to subsidize drug companies’ inflated prices. What about the economy? Instead of gutting HUD funding for affordable housing and pitching the “affordable” home loan myth, people who otherwise did not have the means would not be finding their life’s work lost in toxic mortgages—and financial institutions would not have needed bailouts. There would have been less willingness by oversight bodies to allow the financial gambling that the Bush administration allowed to occur. The recession would still have occurred—but certainly not on the scale as experienced now, and the government would have had the means to provide relief without breaking the bank. And not least, we wouldn't have had an administration that deliberately tried to enhance racial divisions and created an atmosphere conducive to hate for cynical political gain.

This is of course hindsight, but looking back, there is almost nothing that the Bush administration did that did not contribute to the tribulations the country faces today.

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