Flemish medieval tapestry
By Elaine Meinel Supkis
Ah, the buccolic joys of rebuilding constantly over and over again! Broken windows only make the glass maker happy but what if we always get "free' money to rebuild? Then everyone is happy. The same windows can be broken over and over, every year, forever! And as it is destroyed, we all become billionaires.
Karl Rove is in charge of handing out the candy canes this time around---just like in the Iraq "rebuilding." The same cast of characters will get the money yet again. Already, grandiose ideas of how to rebuild are dancing like sugar plum fairies in the heads of the gang who plans to pocket the loot with as little interference as possible.
Little Nemo in Slumberland by McCay
No one, absolutely no one is remarking about where this money is coming from though a few note where it is going. From the NYT:
Now it begins: America's biggest relief and recovery program since the New Deal. And the omens aren't good.
It's a given that the Bush administration, which tried to turn Iraq into a laboratory for conservative economic policies, will try the same thing on the Gulf Coast. The Heritage Foundation, which has surely been helping Karl Rove develop the administration's recovery plan, has already published a manifesto on post-Katrina policy. It calls for waivers on environmental rules, the elimination of capital gains taxes and the private ownership of public school buildings in the disaster areas. And if any of the people killed by Katrina, most of them poor, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million, Heritage wants to exempt their heirs from the estate tax
.Still, even conservatives admit that deregulation, tax cuts and privatization won't be enough. Recovery will require a lot of federal spending. And aside from the effect on the deficit - we're about to see the spectacle of tax cuts in the face of both a war and a huge reconstruction effort - this raises another question: how can discretionary government spending take place on that scale without creating equally large-scale corruption?
It's possible to spend large sums honestly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated in the 1930's. F.D.R. presided over a huge expansion of federal spending, including a lot of discretionary spending by the Works Progress Administration. Yet the image of public relief, widely regarded as corrupt before the New Deal, actually improved markedly.
How did that happen? The answer is that the New Deal made almost a fetish out of policing its own programs against potential corruption. In particular, F.D.R. created a powerful "division of progress investigation" to look into complaints of malfeasance in the W.P.A. That division proved so effective that a later Congressional investigation couldn't find a single serious irregularity it had missed.
OK, a quick quiz: how many wars has the USA won since WWII? The invasions of unarmed tiny entities that can't fight off a mosquito attack don't count. Just those who had allies and fought back.
The answer is zero. We cannot win any organized war against any organized state that has allies. Period. Why? Corruption. We go bankrupt in a tizzy the minute we have to fight for real. Even the police actions against disarmed, disorganized states like Afghanistan and Iraq fail because we run up such huge bills so fast, we can't afford to do it.
What is different this time around? Why are we spending like crazy and there is seemingly no consequences that we can detect (except for me, evidently)? From the BBC:
Congress had been due to vote on the Bush administration's plan to make permanent the abolition of estate (death) taxes - which are due to expire in 2010 - but this vote has now been postponed.
As for Mr Bush plan's to reform the US Social Security system - which pays old-age pensions - they were already in trouble.
Now, however, their requirement for huge "transition costs" which would increase the size of the budget deficit in the future mean they are likely to wiped off the agenda.
Spending would be even harder to curb, despite the calls of conservative think tanks like Cato for cuts in government programmes.
Congress recently passed a huge highway construction bill, which included a string of pet projects introduced by congressmen, such as a $238m bridge to an uninhabited island in Alaska.
Overall, discretionary federal spending has risen from $600bn to $900bn between 2001 and 2005, an increase from 6.5% of GDP to 8% of GDP.
And House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.
"Nobody has been able to come up with any (cuts) yet," he said.
What about the overall effect on the US economy?
The Katrina disaster is likely to have a significant effect on US economic growth in the third quarter of the year, reducing the country's GDP growth rate by about 0.5 percentage points.
But the additional funds for reconstruction are likely to boost GDP in the following quarter.
Any significant slowdown in growth, however, would also have a knock-on effect on the budget deficit - as it was the increased tax revenues from higher growth which helped limit the growth of the deficit so far.
Hahaha. This sort of article illustrates how leaving out vital information makes the entire analysis a crock of spittle. Namely, our GDP isn't really growing at all if it is 100% due to recovering losses and going steeply into debt! DUH. All the American businesses will flourish because of this disaster and our Titanic will sink faster, not slower. Namely, this is our death-knell.
Much of the stuff that will be sold in the next five years will come from China. The factories that were destroyed in the south will be rebuilt in China. The money shipped to America via China, our inflation moderator, will be a lever with which the Chinese will control our every move. As time passes, they will make us jump through more and more hoops for less and less money.
No one mentions the horrifying fact that already, China bankrolls our government and in the future, will virtually own it outright. Namely, they call our bluff and dump our securities on the open market, we go belly up. And this is their plan, to hollow out our finances, to prop up the GOP, party of traitors, all, and keep the Americans on the lead line, running in a circle.
From the US Budget Department, heavily modified by me reflecting the addition of hurricane Katrina.
This graph, which is ridiculously optimistic, when I added the realistic costs of this hurricane, or rather, the Chinese willingness to put us much deeper into debt, the numbers are frightful! Our deficit will be over $600 billion a year. The desire to please the GOP base by cutting taxes and spending like crazy will now overwhelm the last levees seperating us from a sea of red ink as my cartoons have detailed here in the past. Using a calculator, this is what I figure, roughly 8 years are left to our shopping spree. So in 2013 we will be totally bankrupt. $12,000,000,000,000 in debt.
Of course, there isn't a chorus of doomsayers in the mainstream media pointing out the obvious. Indeed, there is astonishment that we are being granted endless debt. Examining this closely doesn't seem to be part of the thinking process. You can bet, the rebuilding of New Orleans will be, like the rebuilding of hurricane ravaged Florida last year, gold plated and excessive.
The numbers I crunched left out the reality that we will be spending a fortune rebuilding over and over again as global warming frees up Antarctica which has sprung free the Australian plate which is now sailing gaily northwards. It is going to destroy our cities along the Gulf and East coasts for the forseeable future. From Innovations Reports;
The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has nearly doubled over the past 35 years, even though the total number of hurricanes has dropped since the 1990s, according to a study by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The shift occurred as global sea surface temperatures have increased over the same period. The research will appear in the September 16 issue of the journal Science, published by the AAAS, the science society, the world’s largest general scientific organization.
Peter Webster, professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, along with NCAR’s Greg Holland and Tech’s Judith Curry and Hai-Ru Chang, studied the number, duration and intensity of hurricanes (also known as typhoons or tropical cyclones) that have occurred worldwide from 1970 to 2004. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
"What we found was rather astonishing," said Webster. "In the 1970’s, there was an average of about 10 Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year globally. Since 1990, the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled, averaging 18 per year globally."
Category 4 hurricanes have sustained winds from 131 to 155 miles per hour; Category 5 systems, such as Hurricane Katrina at its peak over the Gulf of Mexico, feature winds of 156 mph or more.
"Category 4 and 5 storms are also making up a larger share of the total number of hurricanes," said Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech and co-author of the study. "Category 4 and 5 hurricanes made up about 20 percent of all hurricanes in the 1970’s, but over the last decade they account for about 35 percent of these storms."
Very powerful hurricanes do several things that are rather hidden. They deform the ocean bed and press down on the earth's mantle. They alter the flow of the upper atmosphere winds. They change the flow of the ocean's underwater streams.
There are fewer hurricanes when big ones are at work because the big ones soak up so much energy. But who wants a hurricane season with just one mega hurricane? Like winds of 250 mph and 60" of rain? Guess what?
Absolutely nothing built by humans will survive these!
We are in a race against time. We don't want to change and note the hysteria after this latest monster hurricane, we couldn't wait to get more oil to burn and to burn it even faster! The logic of Mother Nature's earth ecosystems will relentlessly move forwards even as we struggle to fix what will be utterly destroyed in the end.
Namely, not only is New Orleans doomed, so is much of America. With global warming, most of Florida will be undersea by the end of the century, much less New Orleans. Frankly, NYC will need Dutch style sea walls to stay above water. Hurricanes will breach these dikes with ease, if we project merely having a sea surge of say, 25' in every hurricane, kiss your ass goodbye.
The Chinese have made if very very clear, they are bankrolling us only for their own ends. The end for us is simple: remember the Soviet state? As Reagan called them "the Evil Empire" he stopped Carter's grain embargo and fed the beast he railed against. In return, the Soviets tried to extend power until they went bankrupt and we pulled out the rug from under them.
The Chinese studied this closely even as it was happening. They also studied how the Japanese were purchasing Reagan and all other "legislators" so they could control America and even when Japan, a smaller nation, over did it and nearly went bankrupt themselves, enduring a long depression at home, they didn't release the reins hooked to the bit in the American horse's mouth, they still own our Presidents on down! They consider this a cost of doing business. Note here on my blog, they are the number one purchasers of luxury items! And the Chinese are rapidly becoming number two in this regard.
Both parties, say, if they join forces which I am betting on in the long run since it makes sense, will rule the entire world, but not nakedly like us, both have learned as empires this is a sure fire way to go bankrupt. They will keep our military afloat just enough to keep us distracted and hemorraging money and blood, so long as we obey them and fight only those entities they want supressed.
Russia has noted this and already is allying itself with China. Bet only on winning horses, you can get rich at the races! Unfortunately, for America, winning the trifecta for Bush means losing everything.To return to homepage click here