Friday, October 31, 2003

Figures don't lie, but liars figure 

Whee . . . the recession, the depression, the whatever is over! Why the gross national product grew by 7.2 percent in the last quarter. Who says Bushnomics don't work? Cut taxes, pile up deficits, cut taxes, eliminate jobs, pile up more deficits, cut taxes eliminate more jobs and all is well, according to Bushmath and the TV newsies who yesterday were gushing over this miracle that, to hear them tell it, was brought about the by Bushies' economic policies and higher productivity, which means fewer were working longer and harder for less -- that is if there is any truth to the 7.2 percent figure and even if there isn't, you can bet that fewer were working longer and harder for less.

Dunno about you, folks, but I cringe when I hear the word productivity. It has become a dirty word to me when I think of what it means for the average wage slave.

Assuming that the figure holds and doesn't get quietly downsized as previous ones have, the Bush economic miracle is as phony as the bubble. Soon the bubble will burst, because there is no there there.

Sure Bush putting some extra bucks in the pockets of financially strapped parents with children helped. Helped with paying for all that back-to-school stuff. But that was a one-time boost for struggling parents. There might even have been a few bucks left over to buy some other necessities. But the third quarter also happens to be the time for big savings on 2003 model vehicles -- leftovers, as the car makers call them -- so you would expect an upsurge in car sales, especially with a zero interest rate or fat rebates. Add into that those who refinanced their mortgages to get lower interest rates plus some extra bucks to spend by cashing in their home equity, also first-time home buyers lured by rock bottom interest rates even though they could lose their jobs tomorrow. And let us not leave out of the equation the sales of war toys and other supplies needed to keep Bush's lovely wars going in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some economic miracle, eh?

Abraham Lincoln said, "You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time." Since Mr. Lincoln did not live in our age of public relations and advertising propagandists that may have to be revised to "you may fool nearly all the people all the time," especially if you have a talent for playing with figures and cooking the books.

The great test in how much you can fool the people will come this holiday season. The propagandists are already beating the drum for you to buy, buy, buy, in order to fulfill their prophecy that this will be the best holiday sales season in eons. If that happens, I say it will be for one of two reasons: People realize we're headed for economic collapse and they are going to grab what they can while they can or you can fool nearly all the people all the time.

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