Mother of All Sequels
by J. Mark Batchelor
Like most sequels, Bush II has been working hard to out-do
its original incarnation: More tax cuts, more right-wing policies,
bigger wars. Like "Die Harder," with its vastly increased
body count and exponentially larger explosions than the first
movie in that series, Bush II is an inflated version of the
original. God help us.
But, like most sequels, there is a vague sense of something
missing. Sure, just like Poppy, Junior's approval ratings
went to 90% at the start of this sequel's 'war,' yet like
a sequel without the box-office staying power of the original,
the popularity receipts seem to be dropping off a few weeks
after the opening weekend. It may very well be because, unlike
the recession and economic malaise attached to Bush I, the
economic fireworks attached to this sequel will also be far
larger than in the original production.
Even as Dubya struts about with the laurels placed on his
emperor's head, a fear, far different than the one spawned
on Sept.11th, grows in the country. (I'm not sure what Dubya
has done to receive such heady accolades. But statements such
as "We'll smoke 'em out" and "We'll get 'em, dead or alive"
do not invoke visions of FDR and Churchill in my warped progressive
People seemed to have noticed that the stock market just
crashed with an eerie similarity to the fall of 1929, and
Americans are not so brain-addled as to not remember what
happened after that little 'market correction.' And it is
becoming painfully obvious that Bush II also realizes the
economic impact of what has just occurred. Witness the cheerleading
the Boy King is now performing.
But it will all be for naught. Like Hoover before him, Bush
will be helpless, for the seeds of the coming economic disaster
were sown months before the crash. The Bush Tax Cuts are now
set in stone (well, almost), yet the bill will not come due
really until 2003 and 2004, when they take effect for the
wealthy with a vengeance. And we have ALREADY burned through
the entire surplus. There will be no surplus to draw on to
fund Bush's fiscal irresponsibility, and the impact of the
coming federal budget deficits on capital and growth will
Those of us in charge of capital budgets for corporations
have been here before in 1990-91, and we can tell you, economic
growth is directly predicated on the availability of capital
and low interest rates. The coming federal deficits will drive
up rates, no matter what President Greenspan does at the Fed,
and capital will disappear. This scenario, with the collapse
of the WTC and the Stock Market with it, is now almost guaranteed.
And like Hoover before him, Bush will be unable to do a thing.
This is due to the fact that the people REALLY in charge of
this administration believe the failure of the Bush I administration
was due to a lack of right-wing ideological purity. They will
never tolerate any position that allows that most sacred of
GOP beliefs, the Tax Cuts, to be repealed in any way. And
so Bush II is doomed, as the country fails to rebound from
the recession with any vigor (just like in Bush I), and the
Government returns to $200-$300 billion dollar per year deficits.
This future is now more than likely set in stone. The right-wing
ideologues now in control, who believe that the Government
has no effect on the economy, will allow no talk of heresy.
Bush will be legislatively helpless, with his hands ideologically
tied, to avert high unemployment and low, or possibly even
zero or negative, growth. And if he really screws this up,
there may also be a return of the soup kitchens. No victory
in a minor conflict in the Mid-East (and believe me, in the
end it will in all probability be minor) will save this administration,
as was so richly proven with Bush I.
So we will have come full circle, and Bush II will end much
like Bush I, with an unceremonious box office close on Jan.
21, 2005, leaving a bankrupt federal treasury and an electorate
wondering why it failed to realize that this sequel would
be not be better than the original.