Osama Bin Laden’s Dream of US Economic Collapse
September 18th, 2008
Daniel Eran Dilger
Supporters of the Bush administration like to say that there have been no terrorist attacks on US soil since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, suggesting that President Bush has kept the country safe from terrorism. What they forget is that Osama Bin Laden clearly outlined his strategy for battling America, not by flying more planes into new buildings, but by driving the US into bankruptcy.
The current economic collapse among US banks has cost taxpayers over $800 billion so far in federal bailouts. Add in the trillions spent off the budget in financing the occupation of Iraq and a maintenance mode war in Afghanistan, and it’s obvious that the yet uncaptured Bin Laden can declare “mission accomplished.”
In November 2004, CNN reported that Bin Laden released a video monologue to Al-Jazeera where the terror-savvy, extreme fundamentalist announced plans to continue a “policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy” using similar tactics to those used when fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 80s, “guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.”
“Easy to Provoke and Bait this Administration.”
Bin Laden bragged at the time that al Qaeda has found it “easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations.”
“And it all shows that the real loser is you,” Bin Laden said. “It is the American people and their economy.”
Bin Laden said of President Bush that “the darkness of black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America.”
In 2004, the US national debt was more than $7 trillion, but today it has grown to $9.6 trillion, roughly $31,640 of debt for every American citizen according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. The US is currently spending an astounding $12 billion per month in Iraq.
McCain Doesn’t Understand the Economic Crisis.
While Alan Greenspan called the current economic crisis “by far the worst financial crisis in a century,” John McCain has repeated over and over that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong,” even while the market tumbled and major financial institutions went on fire sale earlier this week.
McCain has failed to articulate any understanding of the economy or any interest in doing anything differently. His position has repeatedly been to follow the strategies of William ‘Phil’ Gramm, a Democrat turned Republican who sat in the House from 1978 to 1985, and then the Senate through 2002.
In the second half of the 90s, Gramm received over a million dollars in campaign contributions from the securities and investment industry during his five years on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. His wife sat on the board of Enron, and Gramm himself authored the “Enron loophole” in 2000, enabling the Enron scandal.
Gramm pushed to dismantle regulations enacted during the Depression to separate banking, insurance and brokerage activities, passing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. That legislation was key to enabling today’s mortgage crisis.
Gramm served as McCain’s campaign co-chair and his most senior economic adviser through July, when he famously downplayed the economic crisis by saying, “You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” and, “we have sort of become a nation of whiners, you just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline.” Gramm stepped down from his official role in the McCain campaign following those comments, but continues to advise McCain on economic policy.
Not Just a String of Bad Luck.
While some pundits have tried to spin blame for the current economic crisis everywhere but the “Gramm negative” economic policy of deregulation that has forced America to front hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the fraud and poor business decisions Gramm’s own deregulation policies enabled, the solution is quite obviously not more of the same.
The contributing problem of spending trillions to finance an occupation in Iraq based on false pretense while ignoring Bin Laden and enabling him to continue his efforts to bankrupt the US through guerrilla warfare should cause anyone who thinks that there is no difference between Barack Obama and McCain to wake up.
Obama plans to scale down the unwelcome operations in Iraq that are costing the nation absurd amounts of money while watering down the country’s military strength, provide a $1,000 tax break to the middle class, and stop the out of control profiteers that are devastating the economy as they take full advantage of Gramm’s catastrophic deregulation policies to manipulate the market and then promptly abandon any accountability and leave the taxpayer to pay for the damages.
McCain Plays Depressing Hoover Tune.
McCain has continued to describe himself as “fundamentally a deregulator” and has repeatedly stated that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong,” echoing the lack of understanding voiced by President Herbert Hoover the day after the stock market crashed on Black Tuesday in October 1929, when he said, “The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis.”
Despite Hoover’s comments, the market continued to fall. John D. Rockefeller repeated the same line of optimism days later, “Believing that fundamental conditions of the country are sound . . . my son and I have for some days been purchasing sound common stocks.” The market didn’t hit bottom until the middle of November.
Hoover promised a tax cut and voiced further optimism, but over the next year, things only got worse as the economy contracted, a thousand banks failed, and the nation experienced widespread poverty for years.
In a similar fashion, the McCain campaign has attempted to cloud reality by trotting out billionaire democrat and wife of a knight Lynn Forester de Rothschild to insist that McCain knows what he’s doing on the economy but that Obama is an “elitist,” while she also says she sees no political difference in social issues between Hillary Clinton and the McCain/Palin campaign.
Palin Drone Says the Same Thing Backwards.
McCain’s running mate is even further out of touch with reality in economic matters. As mayor, Palin was able to hire John Cramer as a full time city manager to do her job so she could focus on turning Wasilla into a town modeled on the evangelical teachings of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Alaska is swimming in oil money, so most of the town’s infrastructure and planning was subsidized and managed by Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough, a regional govenment.
A Salon article quoted Michelle Church, a member of the borough, as saying Palin was “unprepared to be mayor — it was John Cramer who actually ran the city,” and noting that, “the borough takes care of most of the planning, the fire, the ambulance, collecting the property taxes. And on top of that she brought in a city manager to actually run the city day to day. So what executive experience did she have as mayor?”
Still, Palin managed to leave behind massive debt after building a sports complex so far out of town that kids couldn’t ride their bikes there, and an unnecessary and duplicative new emergency dispatch center. Both as mayor and as the governor of Alaska, Palin has requested massive earmarks for Federal dollars, despite the fact that local residents pay nearly nothing in taxes due to Alaska’s oil wealth.
In her acceptance speech and repeatedly afterward, Palin has come out as being against earmarks and wasteful spending, claiming to have said “thanks but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere,” to Congress, then admitting that she accepted the money after the earmark was canceled by Congress, and then returning to her line about “thanks but no thanks” in subsequent recitations of her speech.
What Palin seems to fail to understand is that earmarks are the mechanism Congress uses to ensure that funding is spent on a specific project. There is nothing wrong with earmarks themselves, as they can be used to ensure that Federal money isn’t just spent frivolously with nothing to show for it. The real problem is wasteful spending and requesting funding for unnecessary projects.
In the case of Palin’s bridge to nowhere, while Congress removed the earmark, Palin took the money anyway and spent it at her own discretion. By presenting herself as a champion of “ending earmarks,” Palin reveals that she is either grossly ignorant of how things work, or simply a disingenuously hypocritical liar.
In neither case is Palin qualified to help sort out economic policy for McCain, who has admitted that economic matters are not his strong point and who is surrounded by lobbyists and career politicians who have served the needs of those lobbyists in removing the economic regulations that were originally put in place to prevent the Depression from occurring again. Neither McCain nor Palin can offer real change, just more of the same as things get worse.
We Don’t Need Not Another Hoover.
America has to fight to take the nation back from the profiteers who have been cashing in at the trough of deregulation just like speculators in the 20s, who bought stock on margins hoping to make a quick profit. That worked well until everyone began selling at once. Today, bad home loans and speculative investments have resulted in a similar crisis, and are setting up a domino effect of future disasters.
On top of this, the nation has taken on a fantastically expensive war on multiple fronts, playing right into the hand of Bin Laden’s attempts to bankrupt us. McCain and Palin not only plan to stay in Iraq indefinitely, but threaten to start new wars in Iran, Syria, and between Georgia and Russia. This is ridiculous.
And for all my rich readers who fear Fox New’s propaganda that Obama will redistribute their wealth, remember that the market has always performed better under a Democrat for president. According to Ned Davis Research cited by MarketWatch, “the Dow Jones Industrial Average produced an annualized return of 7.21% during Democratic presidents, in contrast to an average of 3.6% during Republican presidents,” and when accounting for inflation, “2.5% annualized during Democratic presidencies, versus 1.7% during Republican presidencies.”
If those making more than a quarter million a year are afraid of Obama repealing parts of the Bush tax reductions that overwhelmingly favored them above the majority of Americans, imagine the consequences of more deregulation and another century in Iraq at $12 billion per month. Your taxes will eventually have to pay for that too. Stop deluding yourselves with Depression era Hooverism and wake up to the real threat: Bin Laden Bankruptcy.
Other articles on current events:
Imagine Steve Jobs for President
The Big Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Attack
Osama Bin Laden’s Dream of US Economic Collapse
You Know the Drill?
Ten Striking Parallels Between Microsoft and John McCain
Obama’s Apple, McCain’s Microsoft: the Politics of Tech
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