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Ear to the Ground

Buckley: Let’s Quit While We’re Behind

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Posted on Sep 13, 2006
Chris Buckley
From Forbes FYI

Humorist and former Bush I speechwriter Christopher Buckley, a once-staunch Republican, writes that he hopes his party loses both houses in November. And as for Bush’s “compassionate conservatism”? Buckley suggests it should be termed “incontinent conservatism.”


Christopher Buckley in the Washington Monthly:

... George Tenet?s WMD ?slam-dunk,? Vice President Cheney?s ?we will be greeted as liberators,? Don Rumsfeld?s avidity to promulgate a minimalist military doctrine, together with the tidy theories of a group who call themselves ?neo-conservative? (not one of whom, to my knowledge, has ever worn a military uniform), have thus far: de-stabilized the Middle East; alienated the world community from the United States; empowered North Korea, Iran, and Syria; unleashed sectarian carnage in Iraq among tribes who have been cutting each others? throats for over a thousand years; cost the lives of 2,600 Americans, and the limbs, eyes, organs, spinal cords of another 15,000?with no end in sight.

But not to worry: Democracy is on the march in the Middle East. Just ask Hamas. And the neocons?bright people, all?are now clamoring, ?On to Tehran!?

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By GW=MCHammered, September 14, 2006 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mister Buckley, you almost had me… wanting to be the kind of Republican you wish your party were. Yes, GW has traded vices. He’s now so Drunk-on-Dollars his Crony-Cup runneth over and over. He’s a pratfall in search of a place and sadly, we are the prop for his misstep now swanked on the world stage.

Slam-Drunk
We are Greeted as Abductors
Iraq is our Bridge to Nowhere
Uncompassionate Neoconservatism will have us in our Last Throes

Missionary Position Accomplished!

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By trade deficit - highest level in history, September 14, 2006 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/feeds/ap/2006/09/12/ap3011072.html

Associated Press
U.S. Trade Deficit Hits All-Time High
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER , 09.12.2006,


Soaring global oil prices sent the U.S. trade deficit to an all-time high, and Democrats hoping to take control of Congress said the figures showed Republican policies have failed.

The trade deficit increased to $68 billion in July as record oil prices pushed America’s foreign oil bill to the highest level in history, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Democrats said the worse-than-expected showing was evidence that President Bush’s trade policies were failing to protect American workers from unfair foreign competition that they said had contributed to the loss of nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office.

“These record trade deficits are proof positive that the current trade agenda is not working for America,” said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who is in line to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee if Democrats take control of the House.

“America’s trade policies are a miserable failure,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. “We are choking on debt, a substantial portion of which we owe to China and Japan.”

Through July, the deficit is running at an annual rate of $776 billion, putting the country on course to rack up a record deficit for the fifth straight year.

The Citizens Trade Campaign, a vocal opponent of administration trade policies, said polls show that the huge trade deficits and the loss of good manufacturing jobs are key concerns for voters.

“Voters are seeing the disappearance of good jobs, downward pressure on wages and the erosion of benefits and know that Congress has allowed this to happen,” said Chris Slevin of the Citizens Trade Campaign, a coalition of labor, environmental and consumer groups.

For July, U.S. exports, after setting three consecutive monthly records, edged down 1.1 percent to $120 billion - still the second-highest level in history. Sales of American jetliners, computers and industrial machinery slipped.

Imports rose to a record high of $188 billion, an increase of 1 percent from the June level. America’s foreign oil bill climbed 4.8 percent to an all-time high of $28.5 billion, reflecting record oil prices in July.

The politically sensitive deficit with China did decline a slight 0.7 percent in July to $19.6 billion but is still on track to exceed last year’s $202 billion deficit, the highest ever recorded with a single country.

Analysts said that the deficit with China is likely to rise given that the Chinese reported on Monday that their trade surplus for August set a fourth straight monthly record.

The rising trade gap with China will put pressure on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who leaves Thursday for an Asian trip that will take him to China for his first meetings with Chinese economic officials since he joined the Bush’s Cabinet in July.

The administration is pushing China to move more quickly to allow its currency to rise in value against the dollar as a way to narrow the yawning trade gap by making American exports cheaper in China and Chinese goods more expensive for U.S. consumers.

Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have warned that if China does not act, they plan to push for a Senate vote before the end of this month on legislation that would impose 27.5 percent penalty tariffs on all Chinese imports.

Alan Tonelson, a research fellow with the U.S. Business & Industry Council, which represents mainly small American manufacturing companies, said he was not looking for any breakthroughs from Paulson’s talks with the Chinese.

“China can’t afford to revalue the yuan very much because continuing increases in exports are critical for job creation in China,” he said.

The big jump in America’s oil bill reflects the sharp rise in global oil prices. The average price for a barrel of imported crude oil rose to a record of $64.84 in July, according to Commerce figures.

However, since hitting a high of $77 per barrel on spot markets in mid-July, prices have come down by about 13 percent, raising hopes that the trade deficit will start to improve in coming months.

The drop in exports in July was led by a $1.2 billion decline in sales of U.S. capital goods, reflecting declines in shipments of civilian aircraft, computers and computer accessories and industrial machinery.

America’s trade deficit with Japan rose by 8.1 percent in July to $7.6 billion while the deficit with the 25-nation European Union jumped by 48 percent to $13.4 billion.

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By inflationary pressures, September 14, 2006 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.asp?feed=OBR&Date=20060914&ID=6020394

IMF sees bright economic times

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The global economy is set for another year of strong growth, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday, but it warned that rising inflationary pressures and a U.S. economic downturn posed growing dangers.

In its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, the IMF raised its 2006 forecast for global growth to 5.1 percent from an April forecast of 4.9 percent. It also predicted 4.9 percent growth in 2007 versus a previous projection of 4.7 percent.

The IMF outlook comes a day before top policy makers from the Group of Seven rich nations arrive in Singapore to discuss the state of the world economy.

G7 economic leaders—who formally meet on Saturday—will debate the hot topic of Asian currencies, although officials have already played down any prospect of fireworks over China’s rigid currency policy or protracted yen weakness against the euro.

But global economic conditions, judging from the IMF’s prognosis, remain favorable. The IMF said stronger growth in Europe and emerging nations should help offset the U.S. cooling, the global economic watchdog said.

There is a one in six chance that global growth could fall to 3.25 percent or less in 2007, the fund estimated.

If the forecast for 2006 materializes, it will mark the strongest four-year period of growth for the global economy in three decades.

“We know the United States is slowing but we don’t know how much, partly because a lot of it is dependent on the housing market and those links with the rest of the economy,” IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan told Reuters in an interview.

The real threat is if the U.S. housing market dips abruptly, he added.

“Importantly, the slowdown in housing has yet to translate into significantly lower consumption,” said Rajan, adding that it was unclear how much U.S. jobs and wage growth would offset the slowing housing market.

The fund estimated the U.S. economy would grow 3.4 percent in 2006 but it lowered its previous forecast for 2007 growth by 0.4 percentage point to 2.9 percent.

FACING A DILEMMA?

Earlier, Rajan told a news conference it was appropriate that the U.S. Federal Reserve had halted a two-year string of interest rate hikes in August while there were uncertainties about where the U.S. economy is headed.

But pausing too long while inflationary pressures and unit labor costs rose was risky, he cautioned.

“The Fed may soon be on the horns of a dilemma and monetary policy will need to be skilfully managed if the economy is not to be gored,” Rajan said.

Rajan told Reuters he was not too concerned that a U.S. slowdown would affect Chinese growth, saying the impact would only be marginal. Of greater concern was the threat that the U.S. downturn may fan protectionism.

“The effects you have to worry more about is if U.S. slowing prompts more talks about protectionism, about the yuan being relatively fixed and that channel becomes more active,” he added.

In the euro area, growth is likely to pick up in 2006 and then moderate next year, while in Japan the economy should continue to expand, the IMF said.

“At this point, Germany is on a roll,” Rajan said.

In emerging Asia, the IMF said the outlook was for continued strong growth of 8.3 percent in 2006-07—half a percentage point higher than projected in April.

BOOMING CHINA

The IMF said near-term risks to the outlook for Asia were broadly balanced but it said there was a possibility of even faster growth than projected in China and India.

The IMF voiced mild concern about the possibility of a disorderly unwinding of global economic imbalances that are caused by large deficits in the United States and massive surpluses in emerging Asia and oil producing nations.

“A smooth, market-led unwinding of these imbalances is the most likely outcome, although investors would need to continue increasing the share of U.S. assets in their portfolios for many years to allow this to happen,” it said.

Later Rajan said the IMF’s language on global economic imbalance concerns had changed slightly but it did not mean the fund was less worried.

“The risk of an abrupt unwinding is not in our view a very high probability event but it is a very costly event if it occurs,” he added.

He told Reuters a slowing U.S. economy would help reduce the large U.S. current account deficit to some extent because consumption would slow.

The IMF has previously warned that if imbalances unwound quickly and in a disorderly way, it could force an adjustment in the U.S. dollar.

The fund said the dollar’s recent decline appeared to reflect expectations that U.S. economic growth would moderate and that the dollar’s interest rate premium over other currencies would probably narrow.

In real effective terms, the U.S. dollar is now close to its average level since 1980, while the euro is somewhat above its long-run average and the yen somewhat below, the IMF said.

Copyright 2006 Reuters

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By kevo, September 14, 2006 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At this juncture, it does’t take a Bush-hater to realize the evidence is in!  This Administration has brought the world to a sad state of affairs. Mr. Buckley’s observations are poignant, and speak to the urgency of taking back America from the money making K street politicians of the Republican party. Those bastards have also helped neuter our bodypolitick with their earmarks for their vested buddies back home, their forfeiture of their oversight duties, and their allowance for this WH to trounce our Constitution.

Vote the Rascals Out in ‘06 and ‘07!  -Kevo

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By ib, September 13, 2006 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well said!!

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