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June 17, 2003


Posted by Phil on June 17, 2003 8:02 PM

Paul Krugman has a piece on this administration's "dereliction of duty." As he inflames world opinion and uses the war on terror to excuse its worst excesses, Mr. Bush can't be bothered to actually fund and implement the less glamorous details of homeland security: Tax relief for the wealthy is more important, it seems, than anything.

Krugman references this frightening, frustrating interview in yesterday's Washington Post with former National Security Council counterterrorism advisor Rand Beers, who resigned in dismay from the Bush administration and is now speaking out. (CURSOR notes that few major outlets have picked up on this story, but over 100 blogs have linked to it.)

There's also more on the tax squabble Krugman mentions from the Post's E.J. Dionne Jr., and--just for fun, I guess--the reliably opaque George Will, in a column from two Sundays ago, lines out how the Bush tax cuts are a political home run--while managing not to say whether he thinks they're actually good for the country.

Defenders of the Bush administration get the best traction against its critics by declaring the unthinkability of their accusations. To suggest that Mr. Bush failed to take identifiable measures prior to September 11; that his subsequent military adventures were poorly planned, executed on the cheap, and remain inconclusive potential disasters; that his explanations for them were at best exaggerated because his true motivations weren't geopolitically defensible; that his administration's blatantly fraternal relationship with corporate power is exactly what it appears to be; that he continuously exploits American terror victims and military personnel for political purposes--all these things are simply unthinkable, and so you shouldn't be thinking them.

But despite Mr. Bush's shirt-sleeve religiosity and the ad-man alliteration of "compassionate conservatism," his administration is and always has been about enriching the rich, eliminating government regulatory and public-assistance functions, and broadening American corporations' global hegemony.

September 11 radically changed Mr. Bush's plans, but rather than a sober reassessment and perhaps reduction of his tax-reapportionment plan, he revised up: He synergized Americans' new insecurity, the global ambition of his administration's neoconservatives, and his own feckless audacity to expand and enact various preexisting agendas. Winning support by stoking voters' selfishness and paranoia while offering the vast majority little in the way of tax relief or domestic security enhancements, he is extending the reach of American corporate influence with his willingness to use military muscle. Indeed, the military appears to be the only function of government for which Mr. Bush has any use, as a growing number of uniformed Americans now find themselves mired in two wars whose purposes and conclusions get murkier every day. Meanwhile, an unrecovered economy and the demands of homeland security drive states and citizens to seek federal assistance, but Mr. Bush is too busy conducting wars of influence and diverting revenue to the wealthy to actually take care of the country.


The new tax plan/cut/whathaveyou that recently went into effect put an average of $10 extra into the paychecks of most people in my office last Friday. I earned $3 less. What this means is that I will take any opportunity to kvetch about that $3. Why must the single working stiff be given the shaft?

Posted by: Cristina at June 18, 2003 1:32 AM