CEO Friendly Bush Drags Down Economy
By Mario Giardiello
The Bush Administration has been touted as the most C.E.O. friendly cabinet ever devised in the history of American politics. The fact that the individuals that are associated with big business have all worked for companies that depend on regulation and powerful lobbies should also be noted. These ex-C.E.O.’s depended more on crony capitalism, rather than free-market capitalism which shows they care more for their own pockets than for the market. A look at their economic policies since their regime stole the presidency is an indicator that they are friendlier to their own financial and political interests than the country as a whole.
First, Bush signed a tax-cut. Although popular with voters, it is an example of irresponsible policy making. It was widely know, even in Clinton’s last year, that the country was headed toward financial woes. Clinton did much to combat this inevitable slide including taxing the most rich, cutting taxes for the poorest, and signing into law the reduction of the national debt by more than two trillion dollars. Bush reversed these trends and worsened an already fragile market. He did this through one irresponsible act after another. The tax-cut that gave each family a meager check, but then prevented our economy from rebounding.
Bush also imposed high tariffs on foreign steel. This made the markets in this country less competitive, further driving up the prices for the domestic steel users. We are supposed to be the leaders of the world in free trade markets, but this move proved that the Bush administration had cronies in the domestic steel industry in mind over the people in this country. This move also alienated the world steel industry. It is moves like these that get forgotten in "war on terror" headlines that need to show the true priorities of the Bush administration.
Bush also signed a farm bill that gave enormous subsidies to agribusiness. This again hurt consumers by driving up the prices of food. This move puzzled especially conservative lawmakers who have always fought against government involvement in regulating business. The only conclusion that can be conceived for this move is to understand Bush’s need for votes in farm subsidized states.
A look at the types of businesses Bush’s administration comes from is a clear indicator of their loyalty – companies that rely on lobbying and political connections, not free-market capitalism. All his main players come from companies that depend largely on protected or regulated industries for the success of the business. None of them come from companies that are involved in competitive, entrepreneurial businesses. The oil and gas industry, aluminum, energy, and the military industry are all examples of companies that depend on lobbyists that guarantee the success of their business.
It is time the truth of Bush’s economic policy comes out from behind the veil of capitalism, to be seen what it truly is -- Crony capitalism. Instead of pressing for systemic reform that is badly needed to combat corporate corruption, he continues to hurt Wall Street with his soft hand towards big business. Even though his strong rhetoric on his corporate-accountability campaign (a smoke screen for winning favor for a war against Iraq and exploiting the war on terror for party financial gains), he continues to not respond to the failing economy. Now that our unemployment rate is on the rise he certainly needs to take some action. But we can expect the least amount of intervention needed to appease voters and, once again he stays in the corner of big businesses, especially ones that are dependent on government policy, lobbyists, and political contacts. The same ones particularly friendly with his business partners in his administration.
A list of Bush administration officials and the companies they came from follows.
George Bush – Harken Oil
Dick Cheney – Halliburton
Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – Alcoa
Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans – Mitch Daniels (oil-and-gas company)
Head of the Office of Management and Budget – Vice-president of Eli Lilly
Army Secretary Thomas White – Head of energy trading at Enron
Air Force Secretary James Roche – Northrup Grumman
Navy Secretary Gordon Engalnd – General Dynamics