Candidates for the presidency, or any political office, seek two important assets when they begin their campaigns, and both are necessary for success when Election Day finally arrives. Of course, money is a crucial element and it goes without saying that less funding means less exposure and fewer votes, but an endorsement by a successful and beloved past president may ameliorate a cash-strapped candidate’s chances if they adhere to the ex-president’s policies. Willard Romney is certainly not struggling to find corporate money for his campaign, but he may find it difficult to separate himself from convicted war criminal George W. Bush, who endorsed Romney yesterday.
Bush, who was recently convicted of war crimes, had just delivered a hypocritical speech on human rights in Washington D.C., and told ABC News that “I’m for Mitt Romney” as he boarded an elevator. Now, Bush’s hypocrisy and status as a war criminal aside, it is not remarkable that Bush endorsed Willard because Romney has stated unconditionally that he will repeat Bush’s policies with a level of enthusiasm and passion that would make the former president proud. It is no secret that Romney intends on starting a substantial war with Iran if he wins the presidency, or that he will increase defense spending when the nation is struggling under the crippling deficit Bush left President Obama to clean up. However, it is Romney’s Bush-inspired fiscal policies that are the most dangerous for America’s economy and future, and voters should quake at the thought of a richer, greedier, and more contemptible George W. Bush in the White House.
Republicans, and Romney in particular, are fond of blaming President Obama for the nation’s deficit, but in a report from the Center on Budget and Policy, CBO, the Bush administration’s policies will continue to be the driving force in increasing the deficit over the next decade. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush-era tax cuts, and the economic downturn contribute the lion’s share of debt until at least 2019 if nothing changes. The Bush and Obama recovery measures make up a miniscule portion of the debt, and without President Obama’s stimulus, the economic downturn would rival the Bush tax cuts as the biggest contributor to future debt. If the Dodd-Frank financial reform law had been in effect during the Bush administration, regulators would have halted the risky derivative trading that sent the world’s economy to the brink of collapse.
Romney, like Bush, hates regulations and has campaigned on repealing Dodd-Frank to give big banks and Wall Street unfettered ability to take risks that created the Great Recession and made the news last week. JPMorgan C.E.O. Jamie Dimon, whose firm managed to lose $2 billion in a failed financial deal often gives speeches about how bankers do not need government regulators looking over their shoulders, but if regulators had been monitoring JPMorgan’s dealings, they would have saved them from their current situation. The $2 billion loss could grow to $4 billion and reach as high as $20 billion as share prices continue falling, and the incident sheds light on the fact that giant banks “are a constant threat to tip over and crush the entire U.S. economy.” After the Great Recession and massive Wall Street bailouts, more bad deals could lead to calls to remove the government’s implied backing or encourage regulators to force banks to hold more capital against future losses. Noted economist Paul Krugman said that the JPMorgan case demonstrates why “even supposedly smart bankers must be sharply limited in the kinds of risk they’re allowed to take on.”
Romney proposes repealing Dodd-Frank to take America back to Bush-era policies, and as the Republican National Committee suggested last month, “a Romney presidency would be like the policies of the Bush administration…just updated.” The entire world felt the effects of Bush’s deregulation frenzy, and Romney intends on setting America on the same track to crush America’s economy once and for all with outrageous tax cuts for the rich. Bush’s tax cuts amounted to $2.5 trillion over 10 years, and Romney proposes giving $10.7 trillion in tax cuts over ten years with 33% going to 1/10th of the top 1% and like Bush’s cuts, they are unfunded.
It is absolutely stunning that any American who is not in the top 1% would support Romney or be impressed with Bush’s endorsement. Romney intends making mistakes he knows will decimate the economy, and with so many living examples of his intended policies’ failures, one has to question his intelligence and motives. The austerity plans Romney intends to burden the country with are proven failures across Europe, and according to renowned economists, even Germany will face little-to-no economic growth in the next decade. President Obama’s economic policies have resulted in slow growth, but America is unique because the President did not fall into the austerity trap and heeded advice from noted economists. Repealing Dodd-Frank will guarantee the JPMorgan incident will be a common occurrence and saddle taxpayers, investors, and account holders with devastating losses while the ultra-wealthy emerge with greater wealth as the world suffers a second Great Recession at the hands of a Republican. Then there is Romney’s threat of war with Iran and huge increases in defense spending.
America will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for a generation regardless if all troops were brought home immediately. The trillions of dollars spent to destroy Iraq and Afghanistan was borrowed, and Americans will be paying for the injured soldiers for the rest of their lives. On Tuesday, to increase defense spending, House Republicans passed legislation to cut social programs and Romney intends to make more drastic cuts to increase defense spending, and despite his harsh program cuts he will still have to borrow hundreds-of-billions of dollars to fund his cowboy diplomacy a la George W. Bush.
In a moment of empathy, one might be inclined to give George W. Bush a pass for his economic malfeasance and deregulation frenzy because there was no recent example of what not to do. Romney however, knows exactly what repeating Bush’s mistakes will do to the economy because they were within the past decade, and coupled with the current JPMorgan debacle and failed European austerity examples, he knows his plans will lead America into another economic disaster.
It may have been fortuitous that George W. Bush endorsed Romney for president because it will remind Americans why the economy is struggling and how costly deregulation, unfunded wars, and tax cuts for the wealthy are to a healthy economy, much less one limping along. For many Americans, though, the idea of voting for an African American overrides any sense of self-preservation and despite knowledge that Romney will repeat Bush’s atrocious policies, they will choose the rich, greedy white guy over President Obama. What makes matters worse is the RNC advertising that a Romney presidency “would be like the policies of the Bush administration…just updated,” and their rush to return to an updated (read harsher) Bush presidency informs their plan to finish what Bush started.
It is curious why Romney’s campaign did not tell Bush to keep his mouth shut and avoid endorsing him at all costs because millions of Americans who lost their homes, retirement, and jobs because of Bush’s policies cannot forget why they are in the position they find themselves today. What Americans should remember most though, is that a convicted war criminal and arguably the worst president in history just endorsed his “updated” clone to be the next worst president in history.