Friday, September 16, 2005



By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Bush answered questions today. Some reporters even inquired about financial matters, knock me over with a feather! Wow. They are getting pretty cheeky lately, no? From the NYT:
President Bush ruled out tax increases to pay for hurricane and flood recovery today, saying instead that federal spending would have to be cut to help the Gulf Coast recover.
OK, think about that baby for a minute.

What on earth will he cut? Medicaid? Education loans? Vaccinations for children?

You can bet, the highway pork bill won't be trimmed by even a penny. Nor will military waste in Iraq be cut or Star Wars. Bases will close but then, that seems to be the plan to strip us of all protection, doesn't it? You can bet, the Chinese overlords are very pleased about that."We got to maintain economic growth, and therefore we should not raise taxes," Mr. Bush said. Working people have already been subject, in effect, to a tax increase through higher gasoline costs, he said, "and we don't need to be taking more money out of their pocket." Um, paying through the nose to the oil overlords is NOT A TAX. Not even remotely. It is money, but it doesn't discharge within our government which is for everyone. It goes to Saudi Arabia or the Texan oilmen. They don't work for us nor perform any public services.
"You bet, this is going to cost money," Mr. Bush said at one point. "But I'm confident we can handle it, and I'm confident that we can handle our other priorities."

A moment later, the president said, "It's going to cost whatever it costs, and we're going to be wise about the money we spend." He said inspectors general would oversee the spending, much of which would be on roads, bridges, schools and water and sewage systems.
Um, we have this farking huge $265 billion highway bill. All we have to do is transfer a number of projects going to Alaska, for example, and viola! All OK. Ditto the schools and water/sewage systems.

On the other hand, this doesn't do the people of New Orleans and other devastated communities much good. Being able to flush a toilet in a house in splinters is not going to help them much.
Heated discussions between the White House and Congressional leaders, including some Republicans, over how to pay for the recovery effort now seem inevitable. Some Republicans were worrying publicly about the rising federal deficits even before Mr. Bush pledged a huge federal role in the recovery in a speech Thursday night in New Orleans - and before his "no new taxes" pledge today.
There he goes again. "Read my lisp" time.

We are going to feel the sting of massive taxation in due time. We have at best, 8 more years of fun and then wham.
Before Hurricane Katrina, the deficit for the fiscal year that ends two weeks from today was projected to be about $330 billion.
This is why I absolutely despise the NYT. They know perfectly well the deficit was not going to be $330 billion. They know that Social Security money is covering an additional $160+ deficit and so our real overrun of the budget is over half a trillion smacker-oos.
Soon after the storm, Congress and the White House approved emergency spending of some $62 billion for recovery costs. Mr. Bush said that was only a "down payment" on what Washington would ultimately pay, and some lawmakers have predicted that federal spending on the recovery could approach $200 billion.
Already, we are rapidly scaring off China and Japan. They know they can't keep up this level of funding forever. Japan already carries over a trillion in American red ink and China is nearly at a trillion. Anything over this will tip the scales with both countries who don't want to take on the risk of total economic collapse if and when we bellyflop onto the WTO and IMF.

&spades From MSNBC:
More than 500 specialists are working to clean up 44 oil spills ranging from several hundred gallons to nearly 4 million gallons, the U.S. Coast Guard said in an assessment that goes far beyond initial reports of just two significant spills.

The report comes nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, and reflects the fact that the Coast Guard and other agencies are able to only now tackle environmental problems since the search and rescue effort is winding down.

The Coast Guard estimates more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled from industrial plants, storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana.
The clean up from this will be horrific. All the mud in New Orleans is contaminated with toxins. All of it is bad for the health. Removing it, a nightmare. The cost, horrific.
Of particular concern is a spill in Meraux, a town just outside New Orleans on the Mississippi River, where oil mixed with floodwaters and sediment to submerge hundreds of homes.

Murphy Oil, which owns the refinery where the spill occurred, said Friday that two class action lawsuits were filed in federal court against the company seeking damages for residents.

The company said the lawsuits, filed in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, are seeking damages for residents of St. Bernard Parish in southeast Louisiana, parts of which were covered in oil and sludge after the spill.
Of course, it is increasingly hard to sue in these situations. Much of the south voted against Kerry and Edwards because one was a war hero and the other a lawyer who represented exactly who these people are, the latest victims.

The curse, "May your wishes come true," are most apt here.

&spades And for a last note here, many airlines are going belly up. The price of oil is dropping to a "mere" $65 a barrel but isn't that loverly? Yeah. Whoopee. From Gainesville Times:
When Delta Air Lines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, it came as a cruel blow to one of metro Atlanta's largest employers. But the effect on consumers is expected to be minimal.

"I don't think passengers will notice anything different," said Reuben Black of Gainesville, who retired from Delta in 1996 after 34 years as a pilot and administrator. "Delta's already taken away the pillows and the food (in an attempt to cut costs)."
The race to the bottom. Like in Africa or parts of Asia, we will soon ride trains on the roof and hanging onto the sides, no? Seriously, as our lifestyle goes into collapse, it will start exactly this way, little things removed, more indignities added, treated like cattle being herded.
"The federal program doesn't nearly cover the current retirement benefits," he said. "We could also lose our medical benefits, which really concerns me because we have a good prescription drug plan right now."

Black said pilots who retired at the end of a full career may be able to keep much of their pensions. But many Delta pilots, in a cost-cutting measure last year, agreed to retire early and take some of their retirement income up front as a lump sum.

"Those who took early retirement will lose 75 to 80 percent of their pensions," said Black.
Many American corporate entities are doing this, going "bankrupt" but not folding, going on with business minus the "overhead". Meanwhile, financially, the workers watch the waters rise over their heads! Expect Ford and GM to do likewise. It is 100% certain, 100% predictable. They are stuck out on a limb with a mountain of debts, pensions and SUVs.

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