The Longshortsmen of South Street Seaport
The Bush administration has learned a creative accounting trick or two from The Smartest Guys in the Room™ [Enron]. Like Enron’s PR douchebags, we’ve got waterboys like Ben Stein and Phil Gramm telling us everything is fine. Recall that some of Enron’s shenanigans ultimately led to California’s rolling blackouts of 2001. Extrapolate as you will.
Via ThinkProgress and (in a rare fit of actual journalism) ABC:
ABC: Without ‘creative White House accounting,’ Bush’s deficit is actually $600 billion.»
Yesterday, the White House “increased its estimate for next year’s deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office.” But, on ABC News’s Good Morning America today, Claire Shipman reported that the deficit is actually much higher because “creative White House accounting” didn’t include the war, the unemployment costs, Medicare fees, or the housing bill in its calculations. If those numbers are included, it brings “the grand total to about $600 billion.” […]
To illustrate how big the deficit is, Shipman explained: “If every American were to pitch in 2,000 dollars, we could pay off this year’s deficit. Or if we handed over each of us 500 gallons gasoline. Or, in terms we can all really understand, if every American gave up 666 lattes for a year.”
666 lattes. A Hawaiian vacation with hotel for a week for every American! The contents of every 99¢ store across the land inside our homes! The mind reels and reels.
Cheney is the epitome of the politician without a constituency, the indifferent technocrat and autocrat who owes his allegiance not to the people but to himself. Cheney went into the VP slot with the stated understanding that he would never run for President or compete with Bush in any way by appealing to the people or to the party. What did we get for it? An activist VP who never cared about either the fate of his party or the country after his stint in the White House is finished. He’s got no political future, and so his actions have been unconstrained by calculations of long term effects, popularity, legality, or morality. The lesson I take away from Cheney’s terms in office is–never elect a dead man walking. He’s got nothing to lose. McCain is similarly situated. This is the last stop, for him. What does he care about your kids education? the environment? America’s laws? the popularity of his political programs. None of these will affect him in a few years.