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Musings and Meanderings
Sunday, April 04, 2004
The litany of accusations regarding the Bush Administration seems to be coalescing into a formidable platform that I hope the Kerry Campaign uses to its best advantage. The pattern of deceive and deny by this administration is possibly the most heinous since the Nixon years. Then their talking heads use this pattern of deceive and deny to brand their enemies with charges of "Flip Flopping" or "Waffling".
Three instances are sufficient to illustrate the pattern of behavior but this Administration. Iraq, the Medicare bill and the massive Bush Tax cuts.
Before the war in Iraq this Administration stated uncatagorically that Saddam Hussein had weapons of Mass Destruction. There was no waffling here, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell and Rice all went to various media outlets and the world in general and stated this as fact. Of course we have found no WMD. Subsequent investigations have shown repeated suppression of alternatives opinions regarding WMD including out own CIA. Instead of simply saying, "hey we were wrong, but look we took out a madman" this Administration had continued their same song, refusing to adjust that song to the facts in hand. This administration stood before congress and stated what they felt was needed to be heard, and Senators like Candidate Kerry voted for the war on the information given to them. Now as the truth comes out, they are branded flip floppers and wafflers. True leaders adjust their views to the changing information as it comes in from the field. This Administration continues to show itself incapable of that behavior.
Whistleblowers before the war started, people like Larry Lindsay, who had the temerity to say to the American People that the war would cost over 100 billion, were summarily squelched and drummed out of the Administration. As it stands now the cost of this war is already pushing 150 billion as quoted by the WSJ. This is how this Administration conducts business clouded in secrecy and false claims; the true costs are distorted; and administration officials pressured not to reveal true information.
Similarly in the Medicare issue, this Administration went before Congress and laid out a cost of $395 billion dollars. Although this number was so amazingly high, this Administration assured both liberal and conservative congressman that it was the true cost. These fiscally responsible representatives went ahead and passed the bill, with much reservation. Now it seems that the true cost of this bill is much higher, quoted at $534 billion by this very same Administration. Did they have their sums wrong at the beginning and then discover later some hidden costs.
No, and again people in the Administration who had the correct information were intimidated not to release it. According to Salon.com in a piece written by Eric Boehlert, "Then, last month, Richard Foster, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the top independent Medicare cost analyst, revealed he had been threatened by the Bush administration that he would be fired if he told Congress the true cost of the policy. "
"He received orders in June 2003 from his boss, Thomas Scully, the Bush-appointed director of the Medicare program, instructing him to ignore information requests from members of Congress who were drafting the drug bill. In the past, lawmakers had free access to the actuary's estimates. And they assumed they were getting a true statistic as they considered the bill this time. " Again this was first reported by the WSJ, a bastion of conservatism. BOTH of his superiors have refused to testify to Congress what they knew about the costs of the bill before the Senate and House approved it
The massive Bush Tax cuts which benefit mostly the wealthy 1% of the Nation are yet another example of the inability of this Administration to face the facts as they change in a changing world. This Administration argued in 2001 that the Bush plan was justified because there was a huge surplus. In 2003 it was justified because there was a large deficit. The economist in me also wonders if the "temporary" tax cuts may have spurred growth, then why should they be made permanent. Fiscal stimulus to the economy as every first year economics major knows, cannot be permanent. The effects wear off as the economy adjusts to the reality of the new monies.
What all this boils down to is this. This Administration has shown itself to be deceitful. It has shown itself to be unable to adjust its policies to the changing economy. It has shown that it applies the most cowardly suppression tactics to keep the truth out of the hands of the American People.
It has shown us all that it is time for them all to go.