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Economic Chickenhawks

The wonderful “Chickenhawk Database” defines a chickenhawk as “a public person, generally male who (1) tends to advocate, or is a fervent supporter of those who advocate, military solutions to political problems, and who have personally (2) declined to take advantage of a significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime.” Naturally, just about every “Bomb the dune goons back to the stone age and grab their oil” type in the Bush Administration had “other priorities” when it came to serving in the military during the Vietnam War. It’s breathtaking how many Bushies managed to get out of serving their beloved country. Bill Bennett, chickenhawk supreme, has actually written a book called “Why We Fight.” Shouldn’t the book be called “Why They Fight”? Bennett left the room when the last fight started.

Okay, so what’s an “economic chickenhawk”? I’d define it as “a public person, generally male, who (1) tends to advocate, or is a fervent supporter of those who advocate radical, permanent tax cuts and “voodoo” economic programs designed to make the rich richer, all in the name of ‘free enterprise,’ while (2) declining to take advantage of a significant opportunity to participate in the free enterprise system itself.

In other words, Bush/Rove/Cheney are dangerous to the economic health of the United States because none of them has ever successfully run a real business. Running a successful business is a tough, complex, messy, difficult enterprise, requiring a good product, sound judgement, intelligence, ability to deal with people, timing, and luck. Complex thinking, intelligence and the ability to embrace ambiguity are not the hallmarks of the Bush Administration.

Just as it’s a wonder that anyone cares what Bush thinks about military matters, since he dodged serving in Vietnam through Poppy’s intervention (and then went AWOL from his National Guard Post), it’s incredible anyone can take his economic thoughts seriously. Here’s a man who ran his oil company into the ground (resorting to insider trading to make his bones before bailing on the stockholders), and then made some dough off his failing baseball team ONLY after blackmailing the taxpayers into building him a free stadium. As Governor of Texas, he destroyed the ability of the state to raise money through tax cuts, and then bugged out before the consequences hit. Since he’s come into power, he’s turned a huge surplus into an exploding deficit, produced no jobs, and sent Wall Street into a tailspin. And now he’s offering more of the same, and we’re supposed to care what he thinks?

ALL of the Bush Economic Death Squad — Cheney, Rove, Grover Norquist, etc. — have avoided serving in the Free Enterprise System. Almost all of them have spent their time in one of three places — Big Government (which they pretend to hate, and want to dismantle), Think Tanks (safely insulated from the hurly-burly having to create and sell products), and Mega-Corporations like Halliburton, where the real business of the business is getting Big Government to dole out pork-laden “no-bid” overrun-friendly contracts.

Before we listen to George W. Bush about economic issues, I suggest we let him spend a couple of years running a hamburger stand somewhere. Let him deal with suppliers, employees and customers. See how long he lasts by slashing the price of the product but tripling his own salary. Find out how he likes knowing that his livelihood is actually dependent on pleasing his customers while paying attention to the bottom line. No exploding deficits here, George, or you’re gone.

The Economic Chickenhawks in the Bush Administration can yammer about “cutting taxes to produce jobs” and “cutting dividends to create prosperity” with such confidence because they’ve never put these principles to the test themselves (GUESS WHAT! THEY DON’T WORK!). Like the Vietnam war, where these gutless wonders could safely bellow about the domino theory and “getting tough with Ho Chi Minh” from the safety of the Young Americans For Freedom Rec Room at Yale while blacks and poor Southern whites did the actually fighting and dying, so now they can pretend that “Leave No Millionaire Behind” economic voodoo actually means something. None of these folks have ever succeeded running a real business. None WILL EVER run a real business — after Bush loses in ’04, they’ll go back to their Think Tanks, Consulting Fiefdoms and Corporate Boardrooms, and continue to pretend that making rich people richer actually makes the United States a better place.

John Kenneth Galbraith once said, “One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.” The Bushies don’t know what they don’t know. Worse yet, they don’t care about finding out. Their economic policy is like their war policy. They have that absolute Chickenhawk clarity that comes with never having actually had to fight the battle themselves.

Before you buy into George’s economic plan, ask yourself this question — would you trust him to run a 7-11? I wouldn’t. After trying to fix the Slurpee machine, he go AWOL again.

RICH PROCTER is a cranky, disaffected Democrat whose work often appears in “SmirkingChimp.com“. He can be reached at planetniner@yahoo.com

 

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