Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do You Believe?

It’s the Economy, Stupid

From the Fiscal Penthouse to the Two-Bit Outhouse: It has taken fewer than eight years for our current president to work his economic magic. When he took office in 2000 he inherited the largest budget surplus in American history. Whether or not it was the result of his Democrat predecessor, his Democrat predecessor’s Republican predecessor, or a normal cycle does not matter. Fact is, “W” and his advisors inherited a Midas fortune to the tune of $ 230 Billion. Soon the cache was gone and the cupboard bare. The entire surplus had been spent. Whether squandered or not, it was gone, all $ 230 billion. But spending did not slow down. The administration continued to spend money that did not exist until the budget deficit had far exceeded $ 230 billion. Our nation’s checking account went $ 230 billion in the black to $ 230 billion in the red, but that didn’t even slow things down as the budget deficit hurdles past $ 400 billion. Iraq is costing Americans $ 5,000 per Iraqi – triple the Iraq GNP (that would be the equivalent of $ 121,000 per American). This fact, plus $ 4.00+ for a gallon gasoline, $ 150+ per barrel of oil, the mortgage crisis, and other money woes has placed the economy as the #1 concern on the minds of the American people.

Coincidence or a sign: American prestige internationally is at an all time low. Efforts by the current administration to repair our image abroad have resulted in dismal failure. So what? Our economy is the main concern of most Americans. Why worry about what some Frenchman, German, or Middle Easterner thinks about our country when we are a nation that is hurting. Presumptive presidential candidate Senator John McCain chided Presumptive presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama for not traveling abroad, so Senator Obama lined up a trip to the Middle East and Europe. Aside from the McCain minions complaining that their candidate is now being upstaged by the media coverage of Senator Obama on his trek, other events have occurred. As the Senator from Illinois sat down for discussions with various Middle Eastern leaders the price of oil has dropped by about $ 20.00 per barrel. Coincidence, or a sign?

Positive Economic News in Banking: Ok, maybe the drop in the price of oil was a fluke. Could the foreign tour bring hope to the quivering banking market? The mortgage crisis has resulted in bank losses, sales, mergers, and general panic for the past year. During the tour of Senator Obama stocks of some of the hardest hit banks began to inch up. Wachovia, on the heels of a near $ 9 billion loss saw its stock value rise by 27%. Washington Mutual stock increased 6%, Key Bank and First Third stocks shot up, Sun Trust of Atlanta increased share values by 16%. The list goes on and suggests some hope for the beginnings of an economic recovery. Coincidence or a sign?

This Could be Legacy Consideration Time: Most presidents who have served during difficult times have seen their approval ratings fall. Our current president is no exception, although his ratings have taken the drop to a new nadir. With presidential elections just a few months away this is also the time presidents begin to be concerned about their legacy and begin doing things they hope will improve that legacy. President Bush has flip-flopped and dropped his opposition to several popular bills and issues including a housing bill, climate change, a G.I. bill that would fund education, and even on his stubbornly held position of a timetable to remove troops from Iraq. Coincidence or a sign?

A little blogging music Maestro... From the Politics album by the artist Korn, “See You on the Other Side”

Dr. Forgot
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