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Ignoring the Hand That Feeds

There's no figuring the Bush Administration. They are nominally Republicans. Republicans, by and large, tend to favor business. Especially Big Business. Because Big Business is big. And big can mean Big Money. And Big Money can mean more elected Republicans. But somehow, this seems to be of little concern and/or relevance to the Bush Administration. One case in point: the domestic auto industry. Ford Motor Company—the company that, Douglas Brinkley argues in Wheels for the World, essentially put the world on wheels—a stalwart of the Republic, is on the ropes. General Motors is in slightly better shape. Chrysler was purchased by a German company. But there still is, as the phrase goes, a grouping known as the "Big Three." Even though they are all becoming smaller, they're still pretty damn Big. They've been trying to get a meeting with President Bush for some months now. Too busy, they're told. Can't get you on the schedule. We'll do it later. After the election. While there are undoubtedly a considerable number of UAW workers who are pissed off at the Bush Administration, this cavalier attitude is undoubtedly making those salaried workers (Ford, for example, is working to slash its white collar ranks by a third, or 14,000) within the domestic industry more than slightly annoyed with Washington.


Now the American Iron and Steel Institute, a trade association representing 33 member companies, companies that represent some 75% of the U.S. and North American steel capacity, an old school group of Big Business companies if there is such a thing, is taking the administration to task because the AISI maintains that China is getting a free pass as regards commitments that country's leaders made in order to be part of the World Trade Organization. AISI has submitted a statement to the Trade Policy Staff Committee, which is part of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative—which, incidentally, falls under the purview of the Executive Branch—in which they ask that the government consider taking WTO action against prohibited Chinese subsidies and treat China as a non-market economy under U.S. antidumping laws. The AISI claims that the Chinese government is manipulating its currency such that it is, in effect, "an export subsidy of the type that is strictly prohibited under Article 3 of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures," and that this manipulation has had "an important role" in the loss of three million jobs in the U.S. to say nothing of the record account deficit that will somehow have to be paid off, unemployment and tax cuts notwithstanding.

All of which is to say that the Bush Administration is doing a fine job of putting its historic natural constituency in a position of opposition.


This is nothing new for BushCo. They are a new breed of politician: the Big Government Conservative. It's silly, sure and I wonder how many old skool conservatives are kicking themselves for being fooled by this gang, but Bush is as close to Barry Goldwater as Clinton was to McGovern--that is to say, not very.

On the bright side, I think I read recently that Halliburton's revenues are up something like 800 percent since Bush took the White House. What business wouldn't love government no-bid contracts?

I think the entire Bush Administration has had nothing to do with politics in the usual sense. I think it has been one giant business arrangement. The purpose of Bush's Residency was to eliminate taxes on his friends' businesses while shoveling taxpayer dollars their way. It's a two-fer. I don't think he gives a shit if anybody else sinks or swims.

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