Bush agenda is a cloud over civilization

The Bush administration governs from a script commissioned by oil, finance and military interests. According to John Kenneth Galbraith, these corporate interests represent “a cloud over civilization.”

The key features of the Republican strategy are massive tax cuts for the wealthy and severe increases in budget deficits; permanent war and a sharp increase in military spending; and seizure of the world’s oil reserves.

Professor Michael Klare, one of the world’s experts on the geopolitics of oil, recently wrote “Controlling Iraq is about oil as power, rather than oil as fuel. Control over the Persian Gulf translates into control over Europe, Japan and China. It’s having our hand on the spigot.”

Jim Lobe, long time foreign policy analyst, has written extensively on U.S. military redeployment into the world’s oil-rich regions in order to “enforce a Pax Americana, based on an ability to exert unilateral military control over the production and flow of energy resources from Central Asia, the Gulf region and the coast of West Africa in the face in potential rivals.”

And Robert Ebel, director of the energy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, views oil as the fuel of military power, national treasuries and international politics. “It’s no longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of traditional energy supply and demand balances. Rather, it has been transformed into a determinant of well-being, of national security, and international power.”

Tax cuts are good news for those Bush refers to as his “base”: millionaires. A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently concluded the wealthy, with income over $1,000,000, will receive an average tax cut of $136,398. However, the bottom four-fifths, those with incomes below $76,400, “would lose more than they gain from the tax cuts once the necessary financing is taken into account.”

The sharp decline in corporate taxes has little to do with lack of profits. Profits are at record levels, but rather than invest in new jobs corporations are using their record revenues in dividend pay-outs and stock share repurchases, while outsourcing jobs to low wage, export zones around the world.

The whole point of tax cuts was never about job formation. It was merely part of a cynical strategy “to starve the beast,” in the words of Republican Party strategist Grover Norquist, to use budget deficits as the rational to radically scale back government social programs while transferring tax revenues to the owners of the national debt.

Bill Moyers, in a speech titled “The Fight of Our Lives,” exposes the Republican efforts to return government to the golden age of “compassionate conservatism,” before Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society program. Summing up Moyer said, “Let’s face the reality: If ripping off the public trust; if distributing tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the poor; if driving the country deliberately to starve social benefits; if requiring states to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor; if squeezing the wages of workers until the labor force resembles a nation of serfs – if this isn’t class war, what is?”

According to the ultra-right, only three things matter: a permanent war against “terrorism,” who gets to vote and whose vote is counted.

Never mind that:

• one-quarter to one-third of adults under 35 have no insurance.

• jobless claims are rising much faster than expected, and inner city unemployment rates exceed 25 percent.

• the projected federal budget deficit went from a $5.6 trillion surplus in 2001 to a projected $5.5 trillion deficit in the next 10 years.

• unemployment rate reached 9.7 percent in May when discouraged workers are counted.

• 43 million Americans lack health care.

• U.S. prison population is the world’s largest.

• there is a surge in homeless families.

• trade deficit grew to a record $48.3 billion in April.

The Democratic Party Convention priorities have to reject permanent war, adopt a platform that puts people before profits and create an action plan to guarantee the integrity of the 2004 elections.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org.