Saturday, March 14, 2009

Letter to the Editor: Bush's Wrecking Crew.

Letter to the Editor:
Our republican friends [Sandy Brown "Career pols are at fault" CA March 14, 2009] regularly neglect some basic facts about this economic crisis when they try to blame either the Clinton Administration or the Obama Administration for the economic wreckage we are currently experiencing. Eight years of the Bush Administration’s incompetence has left Americans poorer, America weaker, and our National Economic Security seriously damaged. There can be no doubt this economic Pearl Harbor was caused by The Bush Administration and the six years of a Republican controlled Congress that rubber stamped his policies and budgets.

1) The FBI knew in 2004 about the widespread loan fraud. The Bush administration chose to do nothing about it. [See Paul Shukovsky. “FBI saw mortgage fraud early,” (01-28-09) Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (03.14.09),].

2) The Bush administration hid the expenses of the two wars it chose to fight, [see Adam Levine, “The dirtiest word in the budget,” (02.26.09), AC360, (3.14.09), and added $4 trillion in to the National Debt during its eight years in power. [See Mark Knoller, “Bush Administration Adds 4 Trillion to the National Debt,“ (9.29.08), CBS News: Couric & Co., (03.14.09),].

3) The eight years of the Bush administration were marked by wide spread looting of the American Treasury through government corruption and war profiteering, sweetheart deals and kickbacks, high level officials on the take, trillions of missing and unaccounted for dollars, non-bid contracts, as well as fraudulent contractor billing for reconstruction projects. [See Stephen Lendman, “Exposing Bush Administration Corruption,” (06.16.08), The Populist Party, (3.14.09),]. Any honest description of the fiscal misbehavior of the last eight years would catalog the most astonishing lawlessness which gave away Billions to Bush’s Republican friends and allies.

4) Much of the financial crash we have experienced is directly the result of the Bush Administration’s deregulatory policies and incompetence. Bush’s allies in congress, especially conservatives such as Senator Phil Gramm, were strong voices for freeing the markets from regulation on the notion they would be self regulating. Hell bent to dismantle the New Deal safeguards against Stock market misbehavior, Conservatives in Congress promoted the massive use of risky new financial products as they shut down FDR’s long respected traditions of oversight and regulation. Their misguided notion that the markets could regulate themselves opened the flood gates for massive securities fraud, the results of which we see all around us in our disappearing 401Ks. [See “The Consequences of Conservative Policies in our Housing and Financial markets,” (10.21.08), Center for American Progress Action Fund, (3.14.09),].

5) In addition, Wall Street firms awarded billions of dollars in executive bonuses to high flying executives even as they ran their firms into the ground demonstrating just how skilled they were as managers and just how irresponsible they were in honoring their fiduciary responsibilities owed to their investors. Even now, after massive infusions of Tax Payer money, these failed corporations continue to demand incredible so called “retention awards” for this class of unethical, greedy, and apparently unskilled executives. There can be no justification for these excessive pay levels, the inexcusable de-linkage between bonuses and company performance, and a complete lack of institutional interest in fair long-term performance assessment. [See Paul Hodgson, “The Wall Street example: bringing excessive executive compensation into line,” (May-June 2004), Entrepreneur.Com, (03.14.09),].

6) When the Bush administration’s wrecking crew had brought down the American Banking Industry, they launched the most audacious demand for $700 Billion to bail-out the banks, a fund they originally wanted complete control of without any oversight from Congress. [See David M. Herszenhorn, “Administration is Seeking $700 Billion for Wall Street,” (09.21.08), The New York Times, (03.14.09),]. Even with the controls Congress demanded, we have lately discovered that in bailing out the banks there was some $78 billion given out which was not guaranteed by any asset whatsoever: a flat-out gift to the corporate friends of Bush and the Treasury Secretary. Scandalously, the Bush Administration poured $254 billion into financial institutions but received only $176 billion in value in return. [See Reuters, “Regulator Says Bailout Fund is Misleading the Public,” (02.06.09), New York Times, (03.14.09),].

7) Wall Street is on record both in advertisements and television advice shows counseling Main Street investors to buy stocks and just leave them in their portfolios, to “stay the course” with their stock selections. Meanwhile in the back rooms on Wall Street was the real stock market where brokers were frantically making wildly dangerous deals and inventing exotic derivative products few understood to generate massive short term profits for which they are given incredibly inflated bonuses. This cowboy mentality was encouraged during the Bush Administration era with total disregard of the damage that would occur when this proverbial house of cards inevitably came tumbling down. [See “Jim Cramer Jon Stewart Fight Video with Transcript,” (from The Daily Show with John Stewart March 12, 2009),” Mahlo Answers, (03.14.09),].

8) We now know that for 10 years the SEC knew about the Madoff fraud but repeatedly refused to investigate the evidence exposing it presented to them by whistleblower Harry Markopolos. The irresponsibility and incompetence of these Bush operatives on the SEC has led to the greatest investment fraud in American History. [See Aaron Smith, “Madoff: ‘I knew this day would come,” (03.12.09), CNNMoney.Com, (03.14.09),].

That the American Treasury and the personal wealth of American Investors and Retirees were looted during the Bush Administration is incontrovertible. The horror stories of the origins and effects of this wreckage continue to emerge almost daily. Let us admit that we are well rid of G. W. Bush and his looters. Let us hear no more that our current economic troubles were caused by anyone else but George W. Bush as president and chief cheerleader of his “anything goes” attitude towards government.

Roger Easson

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