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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Bush’s Budget

James K. Kirkpatrick, a stiff-lipped Republican columnist and television commentator, inadvertently illustrated just how far the Republicans have gone in sinking this country in red ink. He pronounced the new Bush budget as a “pretty good budget”. He never mentioned that the deficit built into this budget will be about $300 billion this year, not counting the off-budget shenanigans involving the S & L bailout, the IMF bailout (a mere $11 billion hidden in this budget) for the big city banks’ bad loans to foreign countries, and the Gulf War.

Washington and its politicians are not well thought of back in the rest of the country. Seems many American have gotten the idea that the place isn’t well run, that in spite of the many flags and prayer breakfasts, its politicians dance to the beat of greed and the devil takes the hindmost. Corporations are what count in Washington, not people.

Take, for example, Mr. Bush’s forthcoming energy plan as reported in the New York Times under the headline: “Bush’s Energy Plan Emphasizes Gains in Output Over Efficiency.” Nearly all the modest proposals for energy conservation and efficiency vehicle (engines, furnaces, lighting, etc.) proposed by Bush’s own Energy Department were eliminated by White House aides. Such a move was contrary to the findings by the Department that the loudest message it heard in public hearings conducted around the country was for energy efficiency — the lowest cost option for consumers and the environment.

Bush is the upside down President. Sample both the common and expert sense in America, on specific issues, not vague polls, and Bush will come out the opposite way. Most Americans, for instance, want tougher banking laws so they don’t have to be forced to pay more hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the wreckage caused by banking crooks and speculators. It was largely Reagan-Bush deregulation that gave the green light for the S & L binge.

So what banking laws is Bush asking Congress to enact? The message in these proposals is to let the Banks do what they want to do — sell, buy and service just about any financial service, security or gimmick anywhere in the country. However, Uncle Sam (meaning you the taxpayers) will still guarantee the banks’ capers when they flop.

Most Americans want law and order against corporate rip-offs and fraud. Bush is demanding that Congress actually weaken the laws against corporate crime, fraud and abuse. Most people want to crack down on gouging by oil companies. Bush, who came out of the oil industry, where his son George Jr. has sizable investments in Middle East concessions by a Houston oil company, could care less. He gets his gasoline and heating oil from the taxpayer and doesn’t know what an oil bill feels like.

Most Americans want strong law enforcement against toxic polluters, lead poisoning that is harming their children, contaminated drinking water and other silent forms of cancer-causing violence. Bush is sitting on mounds of enforcement demands by communities who are beset by furious mothers and fathers worried about their children.

One would think the Democrats would be taking advantage of these surrenders to the power of the big business lobbies. Guess where they get their campaign money from? It is time for new political parties generated by grass roots America to replace or reshape the present party duopoly of Tweedledum and Tweedledee.