The verdict is in
Russell Comment -- November 8, 2006 -- The verdict is in. The majority of the American people by their vote have said "enough" to Bush and the neo-cons. The House went to the Democrats and as I write the Senate is in doubt. Was it Iraq, was it the economy, was it the lies, was it the sleaze, was it the incompetence? It was probably all of these. The vote has rendered President Bush a "lame duck." The nation now faces gridlock. But Iraq will continue, and the deficits will continue.
Much power has now been transferred to the Democrats. They don't deserve it. They went along passively, cowardly, and cluelessly with the Bush caravan. Their real claim to power is not courage or intelligence, their real claim to their new power is simply that they are not Bushies or neo-cons. In all, it's a sad story. But it's a story, less sad than it was a day ago.
Effectively, the reign of Bush and the neo-cons is over. Today there is one less neo-con, Rumsfeld is gone. What turned the tide? Actually, it was the belated back-stiffening of the press. The newspapers, early on, were cowed by the Bush crowd. Later, Iraq, lies, and the administration's arrogance was too much for the press. The press regained its courage. With the recovery of courage by the press, the truth emerged, and the Bush people were doomed.
Economically, the big picture will now boil down to four phenomena: (1) Iraq, (2) the continuing massive US deficits, (3) the longer-term effects of the deteriorating housing picture, (4) the incredible disparity between Wall Street and the rich -- and the great mass of struggling Americans.
Iraq will be a continuing cancer. I have no idea how it will be resolved.
The deficits will probably be ignored despite much hand-wringing.
The housing situation (in my opinion) will deteriorate and become a huge problem.
The disparity between the rich and the poor will remain an unsolved cancer -- it will also be a source of anger on the part of most Americans.
The consensus continues to be that housing is due for a "soft landing." In my opinion, the soft landing is a fantasy. I think it will be well into next year before we know what kind of landing housing is headed for. I think it's going to be a very hard landing, one that will work a hardship on the entire nation.
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