It comes as no shock my close friends that I don’t have any sort of allegiance to any one political party.  I view politics the same way I view professional sports; just because I might like something that one person does, does not mean I want to be a die-hard fan of theirs or the team they’re on.  This does give me a somewhat unique viewpoint when talking with my politically minded friends, as I’m not bound by any sort of unspoken oath of fealty to either major party.

Last night, as many of you are aware, President Bush addressed the nation for what may be his last time in office.  I somehow managed to record it to my DVR (more on that later) and was watching it in my living room with a mixture of disgust, anger, and somber acceptance.  In it, the President explains how we’ve fallen into the financial crapper and how we can’t get up.  He thinks we can at least make the crapper not feel like a crapper by whipping $700B USD into existence (maybe more, we haven’t decided yet) and giving it to lenders and banks, and maybe some to ourselves too.  I’m paraphrasing, of course, and you can watch his actual address here (along with detailed analysis by someone smarter than me).

So why does this get such a mixture of responses from me?  Well, because I’m not rich.  Simply put, unless you are either blind as a politician or make over $250K a year, you’ve known we’re getting to this point now for a few years . . . not the couple weeks the President tries to make it out to be.  Some of the first signs that the market was going out of whack was the sudden change in house values across the nation, but instead of doing anything about it, companies decided to just make money.  Now we’re in 2008 and all those messed up property values are back on the market, but no one can buy them because no one can get credit.

It almost seems like half of our economy was inflating while the other half was staying still, effectively pricing EVERYTHING out of reach of the common American.  Previous generations have preached to us about saving money from every paycheck for a rainy day, but what do you do when there’s no paycheck left to save?  When everything has gone into your inflated health insurance, exurbanite fuel prices, rising utility costs, and housing that you have no chance to afford.

An apartment manager I had when I was younger told me once that she looked at people’s net income to determine if you got an apartment: If the cost of the apartment was more than 20% of your net monthly income, she’d deny you.  That sort of thinking makes a lot of sense if you think about it, since that way you know you aren’t going broke on trying to sleep in a heated place.  I crunched the numbers and I (making the average median income for my state), can afford either a room in student housing or a studio apartment.


Not the best for a family of five.

Not the best for a family of five.

Now before I get accused of placing the blame solely at the feet of George W. Bush, please know that I realize he is not entirely to blame.  For better or worse, however, he is the figurehead for the problems we’re in; it’s just the nature of his position.  

Like everything done during this administration to make us feel like things are going to be OK, it has come too late and gone in completely the wrong direction.  

  • Telling us to go shopping because you don’t want the depression and sorrow of a nation to hurt the economy isn’t quite as nice as doing something to prevent terrorist attacks in the first place.  Maybe you could have done it instead of spending 9 months on vacation within your first year in office.
  • Giving us an economic stimulus check was nice, but it would have been nicer if the government had just kept the money and poured it into the education funds . . . instead of cutting financial aid to students.
  • Going to war . . . yeah probably not the most fiscally sound thing we could have done.  I won’t argue whether or not the war is justified or not (’cause I get so tired of that argument), but you have to admit it isn’t cheap to keep our forces in daily operation in so many places.
  • Giving us another stimulus check that went straight into our gas tanks.  Not very helpful at all.
  • Spending $700B to bail out lenders so they can continue offering credit to people who will just continue the downward spiral of debt.  Not as helpful as perhaps using that same amount of money 3 years ago when all this really started downhill to overhaul the system so we wouldn’t be here!

Probably the most “WTF” moment of his speech came when he explain that (paraphrasing again) “We know the system in place doesn’t work.  We’re going to wait for things to get better on their own, however, before we fix it.”  Huh?  If it’s not working, how is it going to fix itself?  You know he wasn’t fooling anyone, especially himself, as he was delivering these lines; the poor guy had a look on his face the entire time that said “yeah, we’re screwed, and I can’t spin it any other way anymore.”

What really gets me mad is the fact that people in high places know exactly what’s going on, and choose to do nothing about it.  American lawmakers know exactly how to help American Business without helping the American People.  For example: in the late ’70’s a bill was passed to place a tarrif on all foriegn made trucks coming into the country for sale.  This was meant to help American car manufacturers maintain a lower price and thus be more attractive to consumers, but instead they kept their prices the same as the foreign cars and increased their profits instead.  

Another good example of backwards lawmaking (again in the automotive realm) is the gassguzzler tax applied to all cars that don’t make a certain MPG.  If you buy Dodge Viper, you pay a tax for having a car that will take more fuel than would a Toyota Carolla.  Well what’s wrong with that?  Nothing, actually . . . except that Chrysler-Daimler wasn’t charged with you for making such a car in the first place.  It sounds like I’m only ranting about car makers, but this sort of thinking is everywhere in our economy and it only ends up hurting the lower-middle class in the end.

Probably the most infuriating thing about the President’s address last night, however, had very little to do with him telling me stuff I already knew (because I, and 90% of America, have already been living it), and more to do with the fact that he talked over the first 15 minutes of the Knight Rider premier!!


About The Author

Co-founder of and Executive Producer for Stolendroids Podcast. Also resident ‘tech-head’ and de-facto leader of the group.

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  • Dr Squishy

    There can be no doubt that
    President Bush will go down in history as one of the worst President’s of all
    time. There really is no arguing that fact. I also believe that he had very
    little personally to do with it. The people he has been surrounded by for the
    last few decades have been pulling his strings, and he has been happy to oblige.
    This period in American history will be remembered for fear, terrorism,
    division, overt religious influence in government, a restoral of the culture
    wars, and depression.

    This makes it all the more
    important that we actually do take a real look at this election. Because if
    there is one thing that President Bush has done, it is to prove that the
    President may in fact be the most important person in our country. The person
    who holds that office is of greater importance now that at any time in recent
    history. Both sides seem to agree that real changes need to be made, we just
    need to examine who’s change we want.

    As a previous post of mine
    pointed out I am in a very real way terrified by the Republican ticket. John
    McCain has sold his soul for the presidency, and Tina Fey frightens me more and
    more every day. McCain has reached a new low for lying to get what he wants.
    Even Karl Rove, a man who never met a dirty tactic he didn’t love, has admitted
    that McCain has gone a bit far in some of his advertisements. One of my
    instructors, who is the director of the Political Science department and a
    former lawyer for McCain during his 200 bid, was told by friends of his still
    inside the McCain camp that up until a few days before Sarah Palin was chosen
    McCain was set on picking someone else (Democrat in name only Joe Liebermen).
    She was forced on him by the party, because she is what they actually want in a
    candidate. She is pro guns, drilling, God, and is anti global warming, the
    environment, abortion, evolution and many other things that are directly opposed
    to McCain. With a candidate who is 72 years old the Republican Party is
    drooling hoping that he will die in office, and she can step in. They knew that
    they couldn’t have gotten a candidate as crazily right wing as her through the
    public election process, because she would actually have to answer questions
    from reporters. Zohner I’m interested to hear your defense of the fact that she
    has only had 3 interviews, including one with Katie Courac (not exactly a hard
    hitting journalist), and another with Sean Hannity (a man who is practically on
    the payroll for the Republican party).


    We are at a crossroads as a
    nation. It is time to see if capitalism actually can work. Capitalism puts
    profits above everything, which is how we got into this situation. If the only
    way this system can work is for our country to turn into a Socialist state,
    then capitalism has failed.


  • Well, the election should be made much easier by the fact that McBush/Palin won’t be campaigning during the economic crisis.  Perhaps someone should tell them that this crisis is likely to last a few years.  Here’s a pretty well known fact: if you don’t show up to a fight, the other guy wins.

    Wow, the 200 election, huh?  I knew he was old . . .
  • zohner

    Wow, I got called out in the comments.  I feel so special.  Let me address the good Doctor first.  I would love for Sarah Palin to do more interviews.  I think she’s smart and everything that the true base of the Republican party is looking for, i.e. pro-gun, anti-abortion, etc.  Plus, she hunts moose and likes hockey.  I gotta say that I’m down with that.  I have no fear that she couldn’t hold her own in an interview with the majority of reporters out there and would love to see her try.  

    Now that that’s out of the way, I have a lot of thoughts on this post.  During his first term, I thought that George W. Bush was a great president.  In my mind, he handled the issues related to 9/11 as good as could have been expected.  His real downfall came during his second term.  He gave those who elected him all sorts of things to look forward to and then sold out on issues like immigration, social security, and the economy.  Needless to say, I’m very disappointed.

    When it comes to the economy, anybody that has half of a brain could see this coming.  Unbridled spending leads to problems in business, personal, and government.  If I spent money like the federal government does, I’d be bankrupt.  They have an advantage over me though in that they can print more money.  If I did that, I’d go to a federal prison. 

    When the economic stimuli packages were introduced, I hated them.  They were a band aid that was going to cause more harm than good in the long run.  With the banks, housing market, etc. all having serious, serious problems, the government’s idea of a fix is to once again spend our way out of it.  That’s part of what got us here.  And oh yeah, THAT”S NOT THEIR DAMN JOB!  If a business fails for whatever reason, let if fail.  Sure, it hurts and it sucks hard but it gives people to learn from what went wrong and make the system that much better.  If a bank lends money to a dumbass that can’t afford to pay it back, both parties should learn from it.  The lender shouldn’t give a $250,000 home loan to a guy on welfare and the guy on welfare has no business taking out a loan that big.  As far as I’m concerned they got what they had coming.  Stupid hurts.   

    What we need is more people with integrity and common sense.  (Common sense ain’t so common nowadays.  How else can you explain The Hills?)  Businesses will fail.  People will go bankrupt.  Luke will kiss his sister then get owned by his dad.  It’s all part of life, which by the way, is not fair no matter how hard you try to make it so.  Remember Animal Farm?  That’s exactly where we’re headed no matter who gets elected because neither candidate will give a crap once they’re actually in office.  My hope is that McCain wins and then dies because that’s the only thing that I can see bringing about any sort of real change.   

    For the record, I am a registered Republican but only because I want to vote in the primaries.  (I hate the closed primary system.)  I will vote for whomever I think will do the best job and represent my ideals while in office be it Democrat or Republican.  Heck, I’d even vote for a third party candidate if they were the best option.  “Go ahead!  Throw your vote away!”   

  • “It’s a two party system!”
    “Yes, you must vote for one of us!”

  • I’m not really a student of history, or economy, or politics. But for some reason, this whole issue with the government bailing out the banks and lenders sounds familiar somehow. After a bit of searching, I found out why.

    Read up on the Savings & Loan crisis of the 1980’s

    Same problems then as we’re having now. Only then it cost us nearly $160B . . . ouch.
    While you’re at it, why not read who was involved in the scandels!

  • BTW, I know this has probably already been brought up elsewhere, but I’m going to call Zohner on the “Palin is smart and does good interviews” crap.

    Couric= Palin somehow manages to falter and fail in the face of the EASIEST interview questions around.
    Hannity= is a tool
    “Charlie” Brodin= I couldn’t hear anything except for the unmistakable annoyance that Brodin was emitting for being repeatedly called “Charlie”