22 Jan. 2008

Wanker Of The Day

Given the global financial meltdown afflicting markets today, resulting directly from Bush's inane "trickle down economics", it's hardly the time to be waxing lyrical about Ronald Reagan. But John O'Sullivan does just that in a nauseating piece of News Ltd drivel. I mean, this is just total crap:
The collapse of Soviet communism underlined Reagan's shrewdness and strength, and the worth of his principled anti-communism.

Reagan's domestic legacy has been equally impressive: a political structure constraining government in which his Democrat opponents have been more or less compelled to follow his trajectory... Both Clintons have thus had to adopt a nervously favourable attitude to the Gipper. Anything less would be ingratitude.

Historical scholarship has limped along behind these developments. But recent studies of the Reagan presidency, including some by political liberals such as Richard Reeves, have conceded that Reagan was a successful and historically important president. As Reeves argued, it is simply implausible to imagine that the "amiable dunce" of earlier liberal imaginings could have racked up such impressive achievements.

More important, however, has been one trend utterly impossible to predict. Reagan refurbished his own reputation while suffering from, first, Alzheimer's and, second, death.
O'Sullivan "proves" his points by quoting "conservative intellectuals" like um... David Frum (National Review) and err... William Kristol (The Weekly Standard). Intellectual giants, I tell you! Puh-lease!

And just in case you have not barfed your breakfast yet, O'Sullivan goes on to (predictable or what?) laud Thatcher and Howard as equally "courageous and principled leaders applying practical conservative solutions to the problems of hyper-inflation, economic over-regulation and the Soviet advance that had been thrown at them by history".

Oh really? So let's look at the true legacy we have from all these brilliant conservative leaders, shall we? A global economic system on the brink of collapse, where the rich have got richer and richer and richer and richer, while earnest platitudes about improving global poverty go nowhere. A global environmental disaster conjured from reckless industrial excesses. A bloated US military-industrial complex, still threatening the planet with nuclear Armageddon. A resurgent post-Cold War Russia, exhibiting the worst signals of authoritarian regression...

Need I go on?

O'Sullivan says:
History is throwing different problems at America today: the sub-prime mortgage crisis, Iran and Afghanistan among them.
Bullshit. The sub-prime crisis, Iran, Afghanistan, and especially the Iraq War are all directly related to the Reaganomic GOP conservative logic that George W. Bush and his father have pursued. The result has been an unmitigated disaster on multiple fronts.

Consider the whole "War on Terror" nonsense. That's Reagan meeting with the Taleban in 1983 in that photo above, BTW. The same year Rumsfeld was kissing Saddam Hussein's ass and selling him chemical weapons. Didn't THAT turn out well?

Worse yet are the squandered opportunities for real, positive change. Over $2 trillion wasted on Iraq alone! Just think what else could have been done with that money:
It's hard to comprehend just how much money $2 trillion is. Even Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, would marvel at this amount. But, once you begin to look at what that money could buy, the worldwide impact of fighting this largely unpopular war becomes clear.

Consider that, according to sources like Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs, the Worldwatch Institute, and the United Nations, with that same money the world could:

Eliminate extreme poverty around the world (cost $135 billion in the first year, rising to $195 billion by 2015.)

Achieve universal literacy (cost $5 billion a year.)

Immunize every child in the world against deadly diseases (cost $1.3 billion a year.)

Ensure developing countries have enough money to fight the AIDS epidemic (cost $15 billion per year.)

In other words, for a cost of $156.3 billion this year alone – less than a tenth of the total Iraq war budget – we could lift entire countries out of poverty, teach every person in the world to read and write, significantly reduce child mortality, while making huge leaps in the battle against AIDS, saving millions of lives.

Then the remaining money could be put toward the $40 billion to $60 billion annually that the World Bank says is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, established by world leaders in 2000, to tackle everything from gender inequality to environmental sustainability.
Instead of such real change, we now have billions of dollars being wiped from stock markets. What a waste! The champions of Reaganomics have looted the US taxpayers for all they can get, the economic shit has now hit the fan, and as Dave Lindorff says, the Fed is caught in a trap:
It cannot cut interest rates much more without causing a collapse in the dollar, which, because of the huge US trade imbalance, and all those consumer goods and raw materials--especially oil--that are imported--would lead to serious and politically dangerous inflation. And there is another constraint: with the current rate cut, the US now has the third lowest interest rates in the world. If the Fed makes another cut, as it has hinted it might in a week or so, only Japan would have a lower interest rate environment than the US. That makes the dollar a very undesirable currency for foreigner investors, which means they won't want to hold dollars, and they won't want to hold US stocks.

Yet if the Fed doesn't cut interest rates even further, the stock market will continue to plunge, which again discourages foreign investors from pouring their money into the U.S., which in turn puts downward pressure on the dollar.

This was all predictable.
Yes, folks: it was all predictable - ever since way, way back in 1980.