The hard left is happy this evening because the economy is wobbling. For years, these people have been wishing economic disaster on America because they despise President Bush. The tax cuts for the rich crowd fervently believe the federal government should control the money flow, taking from the wealthy and giving to the less well off.

That the economy is in trouble comes as no surprise to "Talking Points." Here is what I said two years ago.


BILL O'REILLY: The price of oil will continue to rise and continue to hammer working Americans, because China and India need much more oil than they once did. Thus, the U.S. economy will soon be under enormous pressure. Almost everything will rise in price and Americans will be tapped out.


Now back in the year 2000, the last year of the Clinton presidency, there was a mild recession in America, and that helped President Bush get elected. And so the cycle is playing out again. But this time a bad economy will be helpful to the Democrats.

So who's to blame here? First off, we are. Americans have not cut back on oil consumption and millions of us bought homes we couldn't afford. So we consumers have promoted economic chaos.

The oil companies and banks are to blame as well. Believe me, there's no recession in the American oil industry. They're exploiting an uncertain world and using artificial mechanisms like futures trading to raise prices.

By the way, after ExxonMobil awarded retiring CEO Lee Raymond $400 million in pension benefits, I told you I'd never buy that company's products again. And I have not.

There comes a point where consumers must send messages to corporations who are doing harm. We did that to some retailers during the Christmas controversy. We have not done that to the oil companies who are hammering us.

Finally, both the Clinton and Bush administrations have done very little to combat foreign oil predators. As we discussed last night with Newt Gingrich, all of this talk by the Clintons about oil reform rings hollow because the former president had eight years to go big into alternative energy and did not.

On the other side, the price of a gallon of gas in this country has risen $1.50 on Mr. Bush's watch. If Brazil can run much of its car fleet on sugar-based ethanol, we certainly can. And blocking ethanol imports from Brazil into the USA right now is downright awful.

So higher energy prices and greedy lending have led to the shaky economy we have now. All of us are to blame: the folks, the government, and the corporations. Let's hope some powerful people have the guts to fix it.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Pinheads

One of the few young celebrities who have stepped up to help American troops is actress Scarlett Johansson. The 23-year-old actress is visiting troops in Iraq and Kuwait, the Gulf in general. She'll be there for five days. She, of course, is a patriot for doing that.

On the pinhead front, John Edwards continues to carry that mantel proudly.


JOHN EDWARDS: Some people here don't know this, but I've been in a fight with Bill O'Reilly. That's a fight I'd love to be in, by the way. I've been in a fight with Bill O'Reilly about whether we, in fact, have 200,000 men and women who wore our uniform who are homeless every single night.


We've already documented that the vast majority of homeless vets are either addicted or mentally ill. And there are V.A. facilities all over the country ready to assist destitute vets. But Edwards continues to define it as an economic problem. Nonsense. Pinhead.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads and Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com