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Bush’s corporate administration hasn’t done the math

By
Friday, October 29, 2004

The results of the presidential election that will take place on Tuesday will perhaps be the most important political outcome that our generation will encounter. After hearing innumerable cries of fraud and disenfranchisement, we can expect to see a larger voter turnout at the polls. Having considered the events of the last four years and combining their effects with the ideas presented in addresses and formal debates of the candidates, we can expect two largely divergent styles of governance and thus dramatically differing possibilities leading into the next decade.

If Bush is elected, we can expect to see more of what we’ve seen over the last term – a corporate-style government, a cut-throat administration of law and tactic that will benefit few.

A simple look at the president’s advisors demonstrates this point. Those who are ranked highest are characterized by two things: their presence in the administration of other recent Republican presidents and their narrow view concerning the direction of the nation. From Vice President Cheney, the former secretary of Defense under 41 (also active in the administrations of Nixon and Ford) to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, President Ford’s defense secretary (in addition to serving in numerous capacities to every Republican president that succeeded Ford) to current Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, who served in the White House as a deputy chief of staff to Dan Quayle (in between his time serving as senator from Michigan and co-chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee), these key players have been recycled from administration to administration.

This administration has and, if elected, will continue to refrain from seeing the broader picture of the nation. The $89 billion in tax cuts to less than 3 million Americans has, contrary to what the president alleges, put a huge dent in our economic and social programs. The federal deficit is currently larger than the compounded deficits of all previous presidents. The No Child Left Behind Act has yet to see one-third of the funding that was purportedly authorized.

Bush is the only president in three-quarters of a century to see a net loss of jobs during his tenure, and 5 million Americans have lost health insurance. These regressions result in trillions of dollars that will have to be paid off by our children, increasing educational disparities in most states, continued economic distress for more Americans and an influx of people affected by a variety of maladies. We can ultimately expect a nation of debtors incessantly ill-nurtured both intellectually and physically.

How do we go about reducing the size of the deficit? Where Bush has offered no viable answer, Kerry has proposed many. Rolling back the tax cuts from the wealthiest one percent of Americans was his first idea. In the second debate there was some disagreement about the exact figures that such a measure would produce; estimates ranged from $600-800 billion.

Kerry has discussed his plan to close corporate loopholes, referring to the promise that he would do away with existing tax incentives for companies to leave the United States, thereby bringing back some of the cash flow.

Kerry would be better at stopping the corporate scandals that the Bush administration has so poorly combated. Think of the money that could have been saved if, before the toppling of corporations like Enron, Tyco, Adelphi, WorldCom and others, the Justice Department had viciously pursued the criminal fraud and accounting crimes.

There is a great possibility that much money would have been saved and much-needed shifts in those corporate boards would have been brought about.

The question of Iraq also raises a number of pertinent issues. Kerry has implied that large amounts of money were lost in granting $25 billion in reconstruction contracts solely to American companies. The greatest example of it having been disadvantageous is illustrated by the millions granted in a no-bid contract to Halliburton, a company that we can assume is taking advantage of those very same tax loopholes.

In not sharing the benefits of the redevelopment of Iraq, not only do we shut out many potential allies in the effort to maintain social stability – including paving smoother roads to elections, training an able armed force and establishing a broad sense of legitimacy towards the interim and elected Iraqi officials – but we also make it so that we in the United States do not feel as though we have yet to abandon the motive of white man’s burden, imposing our values, governments and economic styles on the poor and unfortunate regions of the world.

Finally, think of what allotting some of the contracts to Middle Eastern countries would do. If it would not send a message asking for assistance with the entire project, it would at least moderately rebuff the rampant allegations that the occupation was economically driven.

As Bush criticizes a novel idea of trying to reduce the threat of terrorism to the point that it is a nuisance by approaching in a more law-enforcement-type method by disrupting terrorist activities in their nascent stages in the Middle East and Africa via coalition and better intelligence, Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities continue to proliferate.

The current administration seeks to maintain its power by invoking fear of insidious terrorist activity, and in doing so, it has kept clandestine any details that would rustle up any strong cry of opposition.

What ever happened to the investigation of the White House leak of a CIA operative’s identity following her husband’s op-ed criticizing Bush for asserting, contrary to his own findings, that Iraq attempted to buy uranium from Niger?

What is the condition of the detainees of Guantanamo Bay after last term’s Supreme Court ruling that they were being unlawfully detained? What of the hypocrisy of the Bush team in citing Kerry’s previous vote to downsize the intelligence budget by a few percentage points while their own nominee for the post of CIA director advocated curtailing it by 20 percent?

It’s about time for a new board with fresh faces to take the lead, an administration that will reason with us with truth as the fundamental foundation for action. In order to make any gains, this country needs to be respected by other nations; judging this possibility from the point at which we currently stand, it will be hard to do unless we bring in a new administration free from the taint that the current one endures.

Wilfred Codrington ’05 just aced the LSAT.

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