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Bush’s Recession: It’s Here

Sen. Barack Obama and his adoptive parents on the Crow Reservation in South Dakota May 19.

In all the back-and-forth about the Democratic primaries, superdelegates, the convention, etc., I wonder if we’re not missing something crucial: the world economy is headed off a cliff.

Ford Motor Co. is cutting production and won’t turn a profit in the foreseeable future. GM has taken almost a $3 billion loss as a result of one minor strike (which it was probably content to wait out). Gasoline prices are now $3.999 per gallon in my Indiana hometown. American Airlines charges $15 for one suitcase. Air France/KLM, Europe’s largest carrier, is cutting as fast as it can. My friend the car salesman is wondering if he’ll have to file for bankruptcy.

The candidate who addresses the economy as it actually is today is likely to be the next president.

This goes way beyond Sen. Clinton’s call to suspend the gas tax for three months (the perfect paradigm for her manipulative campaign, one empty promise after another, Annie Oakley, bang-a bang.)

Oil is headed ever higher; the latest projections say $140 a barrel soon. Is it time for the United States to buy Nigeria and everything in it?

You’ve heard of corporate takeovers; why not national ones? A little merger fever with some petro-dictators might be a good idea. What would it cost to buy Brazil?

Oil company execs have taken a beating this week on Capitol Hill, but it’s an empty ritual; they don’t control the price. Speculators have been blamed, but the Secretary of the Treasury says prices are the result of supply and demand. China’s demanding more than ever before, and they’ve got money. U.S. consumers are now having to outbid them, when their money spends just like ours does.

Meanwhile Clueless George, the politician we’ve all forgotten about, is driving down the value of the dollar. Does anyone remember when Euros were worth less than dollars? Today a Euro costs a buck fifty. I guess I won’t be visiting Amsterdam this summer.

We can’t go on this way. Everything we do—the entire world economy—depends on moving goods and burning gasoline.

You’ve heard about the rice shortage in a few places; what happens when it disappears from the grocery where you shop? Better head to the potato aisle while you still can.

From The New York Times:

The Transportation Department reported Friday that in March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March 2007, a decline of 4.3 percent. It is the first time since 1979 that traffic has dropped from one March to the next, and the month-on-month percentage decline is the largest since record keeping began in 1942.

I don’t mean to be alarmist; the current bubble in oil prices will pop eventually and prices will decline. But this is no way to run an economy. Why does Bush need cheap dollars?

The war in Iraq. You know, that war we’ve forgotten about too. That little trillion-dollar expenditure is starting to add up to missing rice.

I hope Sen. Obama will pause long enough in his travels to spend a day huddled up with his economic team, then come out with a comprehensive plan for What Will Change On Day One.

My sense is that people are eager to know.

A great plan, communicated by a great speaker like Obama, might well be enough to win working class White votes. Clue: they eat potatoes and rice, chicken and beef; they buy gasoline. At least they hope to someday.

The whole country’s starting to hurt bad. We need those 5 million new jobs in green technology and infrastructure now, not six months from now.

Get us out of Iraq, Sen. Obama; open up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge if you have to. Polar bears have a constituency, but it’s dwarfed by homo sapiens in the USA, people who expect to eat.

The political task this year is not just winning the nomination, it’s driving Clueless George out.

Just as Barack has quit talking about Hillary, he should put McCain on hiatus. The issue is getting rid of George W. Bush.

Nothing else matters; the man is driving us over a cliff. This is an emergency. Shove him out of the driver’s seat, put on the brakes, steer a different direction, keep us from going over the cliff.

Show us now that you’re ready to drive this bus, Barack; there’s only one way, by throwing Bush under it. He’s your opponent; shove him out, make him resign.

Drive his poll numbers so far down that he can’t go anywhere; so even White House reporters don’t bother to show up. Create the conditions where the old lions of the GOP have to march to the White House and say, “Time’s up. You’re done.” They did it before with Nixon; they’ll do it with Bush if only to save themselves.

Drive out Bush and Cheney both, leaving us with a caretaker government under the first woman President: Nancy Pelosi.

You can do it, Barack, and we’ll back you; aim higher. Aim for the Presidency itself.++

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