Great Satan BizWatch: Marcus Gee, You're Scaring Me, Stop!

In more than an hour spent addressing the American people, the U.S. President devoted one sentence to the biggest threat to the financial future of the United States: the soaring federal-budget deficit. Instead of dwelling on that unpleasant topic, he promised new spending and lower taxes.

He praised Congress for passing a multi-billion-dollar prescription-drug benefit for seniors. Yet, he urged it to extend the multi-billion-dollar tax cuts that have already blown such a hole in Washington's budget that even the International Monetary Fund is worried.

His one concession to fiscal prudence was a promise to limit the growth of discretionary spending to 4% a year. He wouldn't say how, except by cutting "wasteful spending," a pledge that has surely been made by every president since Washington.

Mr. Bush was just as dismissive about trade, claiming in a single glancing sentence that "my administration is promoting fair and free trade . . . to create jobs for American workers."

It is doing nothing of the sort. By imposing tariffs on foreign steel and handing out billions in trade-distorting subsidies to U.S. farmers, Mr. Bush showed early on that he would always put domestic political advantage over his rhetorical commitment to open trade.

From Marcus Gee, The Globe & Mail: Friday, January 23, 2004. Find more here

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