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by Ron Cruger
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I have to admit Iím not a fan of President George W. Bush. Never have been. Itís not that heís a bad guy, itís just that he doesnít inspire me. Never has. He doesnít have that aura of a real intelligent, honest, straight-shooting guy. Heís not a Ronald Reagan kind of President. Not a Franklin Roosevelt or even a Gerald Ford kind of President either.
I donít think Iím the only one that looks at President Bush with a jaundiced eye. His approval rating has almost hit rock bottom. Less than 20% of Americans believe he is doing a good job. There has to be a reason for this lack of trust the public has in the man. I havenít seen any approval ratings for Vice President Cheney, but Iím sure his ratings would scrape on the basement floor. I havenít met many people who trust our Vice President.
Ronald Reagan could have told me the moon was made of green cheese and I would have asked him to cut me a slice. So, letís not label this exercise as particularly denigrating Democrats or Republicans. Iím an equal opportunity complainer.
When it comes to trust and approval, the American public has looked at members of the Senate and the House and said that their approval rating is 14%, meaning that 86% of Americans donít think their Senators and Representatives are doing a good job.
Now go in fast reverse to Friday and the House of Representatives, whose members voted to give the Secretary of the Treasury and themselves the responsibility for taking seven hundred billion of our dollars and spending it on rescuing our bent and broken financial system.
So, to simplify, we, the citizens of this great country are withdrawing seven hundred billion from our (fictional) bank account and handing it over to a President, a Secretary of the Treasury and members of Congress who the vast majority of us donít think are capable of doing a good job.
Iím more frustrated than I am angry about what is happening in our country.
I can hear the flapping of the vultures circling around the Capital Building in Washington. The vultures look strangely like lobbyists. Iíll bet that every fast buck guy in America is thinking of a scheme to get their hands on some of those 700 billion dollars.
Within a few weeks we will be getting a report on which dying financial institutions will be receiving checks from the government. We will be purchasing a packet of their troubled assets (bad loans). The language of the ďBailoutĒ law gives the Secretary of the Treasury considerable leeway on how he is to carry out the purchases of these mostly sub-prime loans. Like most instances in government, the ďBailoutĒ bill originally consisted of three pages. In its final form it contained four hundred and fifty pages! The final law contained page after page of tax breaks ranging from benefits for Haitian rum makers to Oregon wooden arrow makers.
And early in January of next year a new president will take office. The poor guy. I have no doubt that, baring another war or a natural catastrophe, the new guyís main problem will be enormous fiscal problems, many of which we are currently unaware. Even California Governator Schwarzenegger is asking the Feds for seven billion dollars to cover his stateís shortfall. Seven billion here, seven hundred billion there, it alls adds up to some serious dough. The poor new guy in the Oval Office.
Iím frustrated at more than just this ďBailout.Ē Iím frustrated, but I donít know what to do about things that have been going on for years. Our stock market is jittery and unsure. Job losses last month past one hundred and fifty thousand citizens. Weíve lost the respect of many countries around the world. We are still fighting a war in Iraq and it seems we are preparing to up the ante in Afghanistan. The housing crisis in America is getting worse. Financial tragedy has struck AIG, Lehman Bros., Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae,Washington Mutual and Wachovia. We are told that there will be scores of other failures.
An encouraging sign in America is that I have heard from both ultra conservative Republicans as well as liberal Democrats and their voices are morphing into one, protesting about the direction of our country.
Letís face it, things havenít been going to well with us lately. Do we have to hit absolute rock bottom before we all realize that the mess weíre in is not a Republican or Democrat matter. Maybe our current President isnít my choice to lead us out of this mess, but weíre beyond the point of laying blame on a person or a party.
Itís time for us to admit our problems Ė and admit that they are more serious than we have wanted to believe. It is time to elect a new president and insist that he exercise the intelligence and common sense to honestly lead our country. It is time to demand that our President, Senators and Representatives straighten up and start pushing away the lobbyists that surround them. It is time to slay the ďPork.Ē And it is time to trust the American public and realize that we can handle truth Ė good or bad.
And I have a request for our new President, whomever it will be Ė Make me proud again!