By MARC MCDONALD
With the titanic cost of the Iraq War fiasco, along with his reckless tax cuts for the wealthy, George W. Bush has driven the U.S. economy off of a cliff.
Now, Bush aims to save the economy with an absurd tax rebate scheme, which will amount to about $140 billion, equal to about 1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
It's clear that this rebate scheme will be nothing more than a mere Band-Aid on a bleeding economy that is in deep crisis.
First of all, there's the matter of the nation's disastrous mortgage crisis. It's bad enough that 2 million people could lose their homes. What's equally ominous is that the housing bubble has been the main thing propping up the U.S. economy since Bush took office. Beside those losing their homes, some 44.5 million Americans will watch the value of their homes diminish.
Bear in mind that the "wealth effect" of inflated home values has been the main factor in getting Americans to spend money, powering our consumption-led economy.
The tax rebate of several hundred dollars that most ordinary taxpayers will get under Bush's plan may come in handy for many people who are paying off bills. But it won't save our rotten-to-the-core, faltering economy.
Even worse than the mortgage crisis is the ongoing U.S. deficit crisis that has soared out of control under Bush's watch. The U.S. national debt now stands at a staggering $9 trillion. That amounts to over $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
The national debt is a ticking time bomb that Bush has completely ignored the past seven years. The Iraq War fiasco will add another $2 trillion to the nation's debt.
Bush and the NeoCons have never shown any concern about the deficit. But the East Asian nations that fund America's national debt are increasingly concerned.
Under Bush's watch, the dollar has taken a beating. This has added to the anxiety of nations like China and Japan, which hold trillions of dollars in their central bank reserves. The crisis is a vicious cycle: the more the dollar declines, the more incentive China and Japan have to sell their dollars (which, in turn, will force the dollar's value even lower).
When the dollar melts down in value, America's reign as a superpower will be over. Once upon a time, that seemed like a remote possibility. Under the disastrous Bush administration, it looks like something that could very well happen any day now.
During the brief period in his life when he tried his hand in the private sector, Bush drove all three of his companies into the ground. Despite the fact that his father and grandfather were powerful politicians, Bush was a bust in the private sector (even with his family's powerful connections and wealth).
Now, Bush is on the verge of doing to America what he did to his failed companies in the private sector. And its role in the collapse of America's economy is the main thing future historians will remember about this administration.
It's a crisis that Bush's tax rebate Band-Aid won't fix.