web counter Media Lies: So what else is new?

Friday, December 10, 2004

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So what else is new?

The NY Times complains bitterly about Treasury Secretary Snow remaining in the cabinet. It's a tour de force of liberal lies and stupidity, so I guess I have to deal with the whole thing.

Here it is:
As the search for someone to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow dragged on, Republicans close to the White House openly dissed him. Then, on Wednesday, the president reappointed Mr. Snow. To justify the surprise decision, a senior administration official said, "This was no time to send a signal of uncertainty."

Well, it's no time to send a signal of business as usual, either. The economic legacy of the first Bush term is dauntingly bad.
Really? Based on what standard?
The stock market is lower, despite tax cuts aimed at spurring investment.
Well there's the proof, right?
The dollar is way lower, and fears of a free fall are mounting daily.
Where's the evidence of a "free fall"?

Some would argue that the dollar was overinflated in the 90's and this is an inevitable correction. Others would argue that the dollar's fall is due to increased investment in the US, because investment is more attractive here. Yet others would argue that the dollar's fall is due to extreme deficits.

One thing is for certain. There is no concensus on what a cheaper dollar means or even what its causes are.
The federal budget has swung from a surplus to a $412 billion deficit, mainly because of misguided and excessive tax cuts.
A matter of opinion. Some would argue it's due to the huge financial hit we took from 9/11, the sagging tourist industry due to terrorism fears and the cost of two wars. But what do they know?
The deficits in trade and international investment are at never-before-tested levels, nearly triple what most economists consider sustainable.
You wouldn't care to quote some of those economists, would you? We all know now that you sometimes make up "experts" to fit your agenda.
Job creation has been weaker than at any time in modern memory.
Clearly false. Job creation was non-existent early in Bush's first term but has rebounded nicely in the past 14 months.
Incomes are stagnant, failing in most months to even keep pace with inflation.
Well, no, BLS statistics show that earnings are mixed, with some rising relative to inflation, others keeping pace, and some falling behind.
And no - count 'em, zero - policy reversals are on the horizon.
Well, duh. If you believe the policy is sound, you don't change it because the short term results are unfavorable. Unless, of course, you believe in the quarterly view of earnings and you don't care about long term results.
As if that's not bad enough, Mr. Snow's reappointment also sends a disturbing, though not surprising, message about policy making. Like other secretaries in the Bush administration, Mr. Snow's main job has been to promote policies - not make them. To the extent that this administration has engaged in making economic policies (to wit, "tax cuts above all" and "deficits don't matter"), the policies have come from the president's inner circle.
You would prefer they come from his outer circle? Where would you expect policy decisions to come from? Do you really think the Treasury Secretary should be setting policy?
Mr. Snow, like so many others around President Bush, is nothing more than a messenger. Congress knows it. The financial markets know it. Our trading partners know it. It strains the imagination that the White House couldn't find a fitting Treasury secretary among the Wall Street mavens, former politicians and other professionals who were considered for the post. It's more likely that none were suited for the real job on offer: cheerleader.
This is a non sequitur. If you don't believe that change would make a difference, then why on earth are you complaining that no change was made?
This all bodes ill for the economy. Domestically, the president is committed to largely replacing Social Security with private retirement accounts - although doing so would require the Treasury to borrow at least $1 trillion. Mr. Snow's reappointment neatly avoids the Senate confirmation hearings that would be required for a new appointment, as would the probable reappointment of Joshua Bolten as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. A major opportunity to vet Mr. Snow's professional opinions and to probe for - dare we suggest? - misgivings, is lost.
Yeah, I'm sure that right at the top of the President's agenda is "avoid confrontations with Congress". This from the guy who says he's going to spend his political capital. We are definitely in the logic-free zone here.
Internationally, the situation is even worse. Mr. Snow is squarely behind the administration's apparent weak-dollar policy. If the dollar's decline sharpens, is Mr. Snow capable of cooperating with our trading partners to manage the downward trajectory? It's kind of hard to be unilateral when you need China, Japan and Europe to accomplish your goals.

The economy won't really improve unless Mr. Bush starts to listen to people who will tell him things he does not want to hear, like the fact that the only lasting fix for the weak dollar is fiscal discipline to reduce the budget deficit. Mr. Snow is not that person. Most ominously, the right person for that job doesn't exist - and couldn't get hired - in this administration.
Here we go with this again. The President should listen to people who disagree with him. Why?

Do you really think management by disagreement is a good way to run an organization? Seriously? Because if you do, I think the NY Times would be a good test case. Let's put a few radical conservatives into positions of authority at the old grey lady and see how well your paper functions?

The proof is in the pudding, right?