Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Fun with Free Market Dogma


I stand in awe of the Bush Administration's devotion to free market dogma, even as it swells the national debt in spending taxpayer money to prop up corporations. It's been a nasty habit to give corporations welfare for many an administration, Republican and Democrat, but these guys are truly the champs.


The General Services Administration, faced with a zillion audits to determine abuses made by independent contractors, both at home and in Iraq, has brought in some extra help for the massive workload. Their rescuers? Why, independent contractors, of course! They charge lots more than poor old government employees, ($105+ an hour), and they are not burdened by the same need to be accountable as our valiant civil service folks. Best of all, the Administration can claim that it has reduced the size of government, even if our free market chums are soaking us for more dough! Amazing! I guess those struggling stockholders will be happy.

Then there's poor old Iraq itself. I heartily recommend
Rajiv Chandrasekaran 's excellent book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone, a distressing but well told tale of the primacy of Bush loyalists over competent professionals in making the most of life after the invasion. Not only was an anti-abortion stance required of those who would bring "democracy" to Iraq; the idea of a free market economy was more important than the reality of common safety in the golden days after the Mission was Accomplished. Chandrasekaran recounts tales of twenty-somethings with no experience in finance managing Iraq's budgets and stock markets, an advocate for school vouchers being put in charge of educational reconstruction, Bremer's own insistance on imposing a flat tax and selling off Iraqi assets as a substitute for safety, security, and continuity of services. The food giveaways that propped people up under Saddam were halted; too socialistic. The jobs people had were pitched as assets were trimmed for possible sale to outside investors, creating thousands of newly unemployed Iraqis. The selection of leaders, the writing of constitutions, and the restoration of sovereignity were pushed up to deadlines, not to correspond to Iraqi readiness, but to correspond with U.S. political elections. And of course, let's not forget those pallets of cash that came into Iraq as Bremer was leaving. Fair exchange!?

I used to think that I knew what a conservative was. I was raised by conservatives who counseled me not to spend money I didn't have and not to lean on other people for my support. Although my own politics claim a greater gratitude for what I've been given and a willingness to go with systems to share it with people less fortunate, I have at least been able to see the respectability of that viewpoint.

These guys are something else. It's all about siphoning government funds off to campaign contributors while mimicking piety to the evangelical base.

How many days of this idiocy did you say we have left?

This is very interesting, and certainly enough to raise my blood pressure a notch or three. I wonder if you've seen this terrific article from Rolling Stone?
It fits right in with what you are writing about, and puts it into language we all can relate to!
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