I sat there, stunned, as George W. Bush gave the nation a nutshell explanation of basic economic theory, reading his Teleprompter quite well and not stumbling as he usually does. Still, what he was saying would have been more clearly stated to the American people via a simple "We in a HEAP o' trouble, people..." The current mess is the result not only of the fat cats on Wall Street but of the lies told by the millions of home purchasers in their greedy desire to buy more home than they could possibly afford by agreeing to ridiculous mortgages they almost all understood at the time of purchase, but have conveniently "forgotten" in the aftermath of their greed. Between the ambulance chasers and now the "what do you MEAN the mortgage is adjustable" crowd, we have gone from a nation of leaders to a nation of victims, and it's embarrassing. And the only ones we have to blame are ourselves, period.
Bush's invitation of Obama and McCain to the White House this morning is being seen by many in the media as a sort of final admission that he's completely lost control of things, and it is difficult to argue with that conclusion. Perhaps it's eight years of seeing the same smug look on his face, but it is difficult to accept stern words of warning from the same man who triggered the Post-Katrina spike in fuel prices by refusing to follow the advice of his Secretary of Energy and announcing the availability of a small fraction of our national reserves BEFORE Katrina hit; in the weeks that followed, his father's main client, the Saudi Royal family, made millions in the sale of the oil futures they held.
Nope, despite his dire warnings last night, it is unlikely the Bush clan will be worrying about college tuition anytime soon.
But the good news is this: after the disatrous presidency of the current President, I feel pretty certain that whether it's Obama or McCain, the next four years will be a time of intelligence, prudence, and restoration of our national economy, identity, and self-respect. Whoever wins will understand that immigration policy must not simply be a knee-jerk reaction to political pressure but, rather, an intelligent balance of complex considerations which, ultimately, must restore America's role as a global political and economic leader, as both manufacturer AND consumer.
A critical component of the restoration of our economy will be the need to remove emotion from the politics of American immigration and replace it instead with prudence that both protects American jobs AND insures a steady flow of the healthcare, technology, and science professionals upon which our aging population will continue to rely.