Mediocrity Postured as Success is a Loss of Failure

Or, it is the loss of the ability to recognize, and accurately assess and label failure for what it is, a failure.

I received an e-mail the other day from a republican, outlining all of the "economic success" of the Bush Presidency. (If you are already chuckling at the thought of that statement, you're in good company.) I sat down for a minute, read through it once, then twice, and then stewed for a bit. I decided to get some hard figures, instead of relying on the opinions of a fairly oblivious - albeit nice - Blind Republican. (Who based his opinion on data released by the Whitehouse - who we all now know isn't the best resource for accurate, truthful information.)

Here is what I found, I already knew that the actual numbers would be accurate - to a degree. As per the typical propaganda the actual facts were cherry picked and glossed over and compared only to items and figures that made them look better.

First, lets take a real look at the National Deficit and GDP. Yes, it's true that our GDP - or Gross Domestic Products, the measurement of economic growth put into place under Bush Sr.'s presidency - has increased during Bush's term as president. However, it would be prudent to look at what type of product is actually being produced. The GDP includes consumption, government purchases, investments and exports (minus imports). How much would you like to bet that our government has, in part floated the numbers by "purchasing" the war in Iraq? According to the BEA the government purchases increased 10.1% in National Defense spending in the third quarter, and 8.5% in the second quarter. Combined with 7.1% and 6% respectively in investment (federally) the government has contributed a great deal to the so-called "real evaluation of a country's economic health". Compare the government's contribution to the average citizen's contribution of purchased goods (domestic or foreign) of 3.3% and 2.4% - and what you see is that all this "growth" is nothing more than our government spending our money on a war we don't want to make our economy look good.

According to the BEA's domestic price index the cost of our goods went up 1.8% in the third quarter and 3.8% in the second. So to add to my sentiment above, the increase of real gross domestic purchases is an illusion, because once you take inflation into the equation - you understand that we aren't buying more, were just spending more, regardless if we can afford it or not.

The dollar value of our GDP is $13,970.5. Now, this doesn't take into consideration our NDP - or net domestic product. The NDP includes depreciation of capital stock - and it is what we must spend in order to keep the GDP up. The larger the gap between the NDP and the GDP the worse off we are doing - in reality. It means a growing gap between GDP and NDP indicates increasing obsolescence of capital goods, while a narrowing gap would mean that the condition of capital stock in the country is improving. In 1947 our GDP was $1616.1 (in billions) and the gap between the GDP and NDP was $1377.3. By todays standards, taking inflation into account, the GDP in 1947 is equivalent to $15231.71. Thats a full $133.82 billion more than the GDP in 2007.

And we're doing better today? By these figures we were far more financially secure - domestically, capitally and foreign trade wise - in 1947 than we are now. The American standard that "Bigger is Better" and "More is Might" doesn't work when numbers are being fluffed by temporary government purchases, inflation of consumer goods prices, and large corporate entities that are reporting gross income increases from outsourced business ventures. Don't get me started on how much money we owe - it is much much more than we can liquidate.

Its all just an economic scam, designed to line the pockets of the few CEO's and top one percent of the population while soothing the now fiscally terrified. Not to mention boosting approval rates. Although it does explain why Bush's inspirational speech post tragedy encouraged Americans to go shopping.

And what of unemployment? This letter I mentioned brags about the "all time low unemployment rate of 4.7% and 8 billion new jobs created." All time low? Bull. Bush Jr inherited a 3.9% unemployment rate (complete with a narrower gap between the GDP and NDP than current numbers - indicating a more factual economic growth). The unemployment rate went up under Bushco to over 6% just slightly lower than the 8% unemployment rate at the start of the Great Depression. The fact that he managed to bring it back down to 4.7% doesn't in fact make him a hero. Most of the "new job growth" he "created" occurred in the defense industry - a happy coincidence in my book. Although it's true that wars have always brought temporary job growth to any country, the money we are spending to fund this war is outstripping us of any financial security when the "new jobs" go away at the end of the war. (Provided there is an end.)

We saw this same trend after WWII, although during that time period America saw unemployment decrease from a whopping 25% back down to the national average of 3.5% or so. The government saw a chance to create jobs and keep the economy flowing by using the cold war - and then Vietnam. After that blunder our economy took a serious hit, in the 70's and 80's (Reaganomics didn't help any) and back to War-enomics to save the economy. Only all these wars, all this money being thrown at National Defense combined with inflated employment statistics that revolve around said defense (and will vanish as soon as the wars cease) has destabilized our economy very badly. Never mind the damage to our reputation.

Then again, if Bush gets his world war, perhaps economic growth will be farther down our list of priorities for a while.

Americans really must figure out a new way to create jobs.

According to Job Watch actual economic growth has not come a' knockin' on the doors of the average Americans. In fact, some wage earners have seen a decrease in their wages. In contrast with the government claiming an overall income increase of 3.6% or something like an increase of $2k per year, per worker.

This of course, has no bearing on reality. Wage increases do not, and have not affected the bottom 90% of the American population. It should also be noted that corporations are considered to be "entities" and may have some influence on these so called wage increases.

Of course, I don't think it needs to be said that concentrating economic increases among a few while spreading the numbers and statistics of the increase and touting that as a blanket average is highly disingenuous. With this new America however, it probably does need to be said.

As dry as this all must seem compared to my usual posts and topics I felt that I simply must discuss it because I am so sick and tired of people defending this administration by way of manipulated economic figures and percentages.

This administration has done more damage to our credibility, our economy, our constitution, and our citizens than any other administration. That said, turning to fiscal statistics and faceless percentages that have the smell of mediocrity and posturing it as greatness has been the worst damage of all. It glazes over failures and sets the bar just a little bit lower for the next president. Have you seen that bumper sticker "Anyone but Bush"? Thats what mediocrity creates. Thats what ignoring failure causes. Its a cute statement - but a bad idea. What it is however, is a barometer for future presidential greatness - or lack thereof.

And thats all I have to say about that.

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