JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA’S PERILOUS FINANCIAL SITUATION   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Wendell Murray is right: there is a huge capacity in America for increasing taxes.

It has been a race to the bottom for years in cutting taxes. From old man Reagan to lunatic Bush, there has been no limit to cutting the sources of nourishment for society’s bones and sinews, the infrastructure of government.

On top of that insanity, there has been the imposition of wars and increased military budgets – to the point, by the way, where the U.S. now spends more than the entire rest of the planet on the means of destruction – with no responsible method of accounting for their payment.

I believe Americans will not accept the kind of taxation required. Their sense of entitlement and the “I want it now, and I want it all,” syndrome are still throbbing away, much resembling teenagers with crushes, despite the economic crisis.

Obama has backed off one issue after another in response to less-than-rational pressure, and I cannot see him being tough in this matter. The truth is Americans do not want a tough president, unless by “tough” you are talking about bombing foeigners somewhere.

He sounded good on the Middle East in the beginning, looking for a genuine peace, and now I’m not sure I can tell him from George Bush, but then the mid-term Congressional elections would be sorely affected by a loss of contributions from the apologists for Israel.

He sounded good about war in the beginning, although his main stress was only the suggestive fact that he did not vote for the atrocity in Iraq, but still he runs two wars, and he has lowered himself into the ethical hell with his horrible drone attacks on Pakistan, killing many civilians and de-stabilizing that society.

He has responded in an almost ridiculous fashion to the whining complaints about the BP blow-out. I say “whining” because it is Americans themselves who insist on consuming as much gasoline as they possibly can, driving lumbering pick-up trucks and buying homes with three-car garages.

The attacks on BP are, so far as I can tell, unwarranted. Was BP indeed doing anything different to the many other operators in the Gulf? If not, then the blow-out is just bad luck, one of those one-in-a-thousand possibilities inherent in any risky business, which is certainly the nature of drilling for oil more than a mile beneath the sea.

And the attacks on Obama are unwarranted. This was not a case of a cabinet-level official totally failing to do his job, and a president just blithely going about things as usual while a city sinks and a thousand people die.

But Obama, again with mid-term elections ahead, has responded as though these attacks were warranted. His heavy-handed treatment of BP has been inappropriate and hostile to a major company from a friendly nation.

No, I don’t expect much from Obama, and that is part of the reason I expect America is headed for a dark chapter, a serious decline, dragging the rest of us with it. This is a people who appear from countless examples in their history to learn only by banging their heads into walls.

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