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Thursday, January 08, 2004

For Those Who Ignore Jounalistic Analysis, Don't Bother With This

Interesting articles in the papers today....

First, let's consider the report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a non-partisan organization. Inspections had worked and were working. There's no evidence of WMD. And, by the way, those who were in Iraq to deal with WMD are leaving Iraq because they don't expect to find anything. Check out this article and this one for more details.

In other news, the IMF reports that the U.S. deficit is dangerous for the long-term, and that it is unlikely that growth will solve the problems as the baby boom generation begins retiring in the next decade.

It will be convenient for Bush's re-election efforts in 2004 that the electorate (including Howie and Bret) cares almost exclusively about results, and not the way the results are achieved (nor even the potential long-term consequences). Indeed, an examination of means to the ends is deemed an exercise in futility since all sources of information are assumed to be compromised. The results in Iraq as of this Fall are likely to be good enough for the American people (the false premises that brought us to that point having no decisive effect on most voters). And the effects of massive deficits probably will still radiate a short-term glow, with the long-term consequences "unknown."

Yes, Bush is very likely to be re-elected. In his next term, the outcome in Iraq is unknowable. My guess is that under some possible scenarios the situation in Iraq can hurt the Republican camp, but, even under optimistic scenarios, "victory," no matter how hard it is spun, will not be sufficient to offer much electoral help. The spectre of an unsustainable fiscal policy, however, will come to haunt the Republicans before 2008. It is clear that Howie and I disagree on this issue. Care to wager a dinner on it, Howie? If so, what criteria would you propose to determine who wins? Interest rates above a certain level? A recession of 3 or more consecutive quarters?

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