Thursday, February 10, 2005

Condoleeza throws down

Our new Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said this yesterday out in Brussells about Iran:

"Iranians Must stop all activities that might produce nuclear weapons...

Otherwise the International Atomic Energy Agency would have to seek UN sanctions..

I am quite clear and I believe that everyone is telling the Iranians that they are going to have to live up to their international obligations or next steps are in the offing and I think everybody understands what next steps mean.

In fact the IAEA statutes would suggest that Iran has to be referred to the UN security council.

The US had no deadline and no timeline for action."

Does this mean we are going to send in inspectors?

Now the President had a much simpler message:

"Don't develop a nuclear weapon."

While the President doesn't seem to have a handle on words and complex phrases, at least he is not vaguely subtle.

I wonder who is going to pay for this invasion. I guess we will need to gear up for North Korea too. Ooops, what is that? They already got the bomb? How did that happen? Asleep at the wheel, and that all can't be pinned on Bush and the Republicans, but they are clearly in charge now.

Do you think they will take another IOU for this new war? The President has now spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave*" Geez, can the Chinese kick in some bucks or something? Don't they know it is important that we invade Iran too? Wait a second, they got the bomb too. Damn. The stuff hit the streets pretty hard.

There is now a Republican President and a Republican Congress. They are supposedly the party of fiscal restraint. Smaller government. What happened?

Oh, they never were really. Not for a long, long time. Think about it. The New Deal might as well be 100 years ago, for it was almost 100 years ago. Hey, the Great Society was nearly 50 years ago. But since these eras it has changed. Republicans can no longer point to Democrats for out of control spending. Our current deficit is rising at the fastest rate since LBJ. Now LBJ tried to do the guns and butter campaign, and that is essentially what we are doing now.

It might seem that we are cutting our budget for programs are being cut, but we are not really addressing the real cause of the deficit. We are playing games with government programs. We have not reduced spending. This war is costing us through the nose. We are not bringing in the proper amount of revenue to operate. We are borrowing. A lot. A lot more than we are willing to give up. We may have cut partisan programs over the past four years but it has not addressed the deficit. Some may say we need to cut things such as foreign aid and social programs. Those don't cost us much at all. Most people would assume that the foreign aid is 20% of our budget, when in reality it accounts for less than 1%. Social programs are tiny compared to what we spend on the war. Even if we eliminated foreign aid it would just be a drop in the bucket.

Things have changed in the parties and they way they truly practice their fiscal policies. LBJ spent money on the military just as heartily as he did domestically. The classic guns and butter. Now we graduate on to Nixon, Ford and Carter with rising government presence past toward Reagan.

During Reagan the economy then began to surge. There were problems, bad ones, sure, but money was moving. But we continued to spend as a government. Spent more than we took in. Way more. For twelve years through Bush. Then Clinton came to office. The money had stalled at the end of George Herbert Walker Bush. Then it began to move again under Clinton. Rather robust too. Not without problems too. Some bad ones. But the money was moving. But Clinton took this record deficit and did something the Republicans never could do. He balanced the budget and kept a robust economy moving. Without additional taxes. We were the possibly the most solvent and stable in 50 or more years.

Then came the wars under George W. We now are in to this war that is costing us a lot in the callous terms of financial measures. We are already paying dearly with the young men and women that are dying every day, more than the invasion.

But we cannot afford another war. Who is going to pay for it? We cannot borrow any more money or the economy will totally go into the tank. We only have so long to pay it back. The world is not as fascinated by America as it was in the 80s. China is the new dog and SE Asia is a much more vast market than Japan ever was. The rest of the world is starting to move and we don't have their backing. We can borrow from ourselves to get into some more wars, but are we going to make that sacrifice? I doubt the Republicans can pull a tax hike, put controls on the economy and the other measures that a true war economy demands. But we cannot continue our new guns and butter program by spending like crazy and getting into new wars unless we get the world's backing. And we already blew that politically a while ago.

It will be interesting to see if we actually back up our talk and demand that we send in inspectors to Iran. We can't get into North Korea. We can't do anything right now, and I will be interested to see how they pull it off if they try.

*Quote John McCain about Washington's spending 11-30-03


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