Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bush in press conference: like a dog chasing his tail

The most disappointing feature of monkey boy's press conference was the press' broad, unchallenging questions.

I thought it interesting that all of the broadcast networks, except for ABC, switched over to regular prime time programming before the press conference ended. Did they just see that there was no point in going any further, or is The Apprentice really more important than what the President of the United States has to say?

Bush said nothing new, finding no fault in himself as an uncompromising ideological divider, while contradicting himself on solutions to problems with Social Security and gasoline prices.

Almost his first response belied the very fact of him doing the press conference to try to stop the bloodletting in opinion polls on his handling of Social Security, the economy, Iraq, energy, etc, etc:

You know, if a president tries to govern based on polls, you're kind of like a dog chasing your tail.

Treasury bonds are good enough if they're in private retirement accounts:
I know some Americans have reservations about investing in the stock market, so I propose that one investment option consist entirely of treasury bonds, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

But not if they're backing Social Security promises:
Our system is called pay as you go. You pay into the system through your payroll taxes and the government spends it. It spends the money on the current retirees and with the money left over, it funds other government programs.

And all that's left behind is file cabinets full of IOUs.

Uh...if Bush is interested in making Social Security solvent, why isn't he interested in a solution that would make Social Security solvent unless private accounts is part of the package? Once again, ideologically uncompromising:
QUESTION: Getting back to Social Security for a moment, sir, would you consider it a success if Congress were to pass a piece of legislation that dealt with the long-term solvency problem, but did not include personal accounts?

BUSH: I feel strongly that there needs to be voluntary personal savings accounts as a part of the Social Security system.

People don't pay their taxes, so the solution is tax reform? How about restoring the IRS budget for prosecution (one-third what it was under Clinton), and prosecute some of those welshing, unpatriotic bastards?
We've also got to make sure that we continue to reduce regulation. I think an important initiative -- I know an important initiative that we're going to be coming forth with here, probably in the fall, is tax reform.

You know, I was amazed by the report the other day that there's some $330 billion a year that goes unpaid by American taxpayers. It's a phenomenal amount of money.

To me, it screams for making the tax system easier to understand, more fair, so that we can -- and to make sure people pay their taxes. More fair means pay what you owe.

How is a judge with a "judicial philosophy" any different from judges who "legislate from the bench"?
I think people are opposing my nominees because they don't like the judicial philosophy of the people I've nominated. And some would like to see judges legislate from the bench. That's not my view of the proper role of a judge.

Wait a second, won't dumping more oil on the market lower prices, and therefore affect the bottom line of Bush's friends in the oil business? Can anyone really trust this guy?
I said in my opening statement that the best way to affect the current price of gasoline is to encourage producing nations to put more crude oil on the market.

That's the most effective way, because the price of crude oil determines in large measure the price of gasoline. The feed stock for gasoline is crude oil, and when crude oil goes up, the price of gasoline goes up.

There are other factors, by the way, that cause the price of gasoline to go up, but the main factor is the price of crude oil. And if we can get nations that have got some excess capacity to put crude on the market, the increased supply, hopefully, will meet increased demand and therefore take the pressure off price.

So, what you're saying is there's no reason to give away ANWR to the oil companies, and no reason to give them a gift of $12 billion:
But, listen, the energy bill is certainly no quick fix. You can't wave a magic wand. I wish I could.

Maybe you ought to be "jawboning" your friends in the oil business who have their hands on the tap:
Hopefully, additional crude oil on the market from countries with some spare capacity will help relieve the price for the American consumers.

So how is destroying Central American family farms by dumping our cheap wheat and corn the "friendly" thing to do?
We need to continue to open up markets for U.S. products. As you know, there'll be a vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement here, hopefully soon.

I'm a strong believer that that's in the interest of American job creators and workers that we open up those markets.

I know it's important geopolitically to say to those Central American countries, You've got a friend in America.

Finally, the most interesting thing was Bush's uncompromising ideological stance on private accounts, blaming divisiveness on Democrats in Congress, later contrasted by the surprising civility between Joe Biden (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Acknowledging the Democrats' complaint that private accounts would take $1 trillion out of Social Security, worsening the crisis rather than fixing it, Lindsey Graham said that the only fair solution to the Social Security problem, if it included private accounts, was to put more money on the table.

When Biden was asked if he thought he could work with President Bush to come up with a solution, he said he could work with Lindsey Graham, and trusted Graham, but Bush wasn't willing to put forward a workable compromise.

So who's the uniter and who's the divider?


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