Straight Talk on the Economy

Is the economic forum in Waco a good idea?


It's transparently an attempt for the Bush people to say the economy is better than it looks.

That's fine, they should say that. But who is going to listen to anything that comes out of Waco? Sorry, I like Texas and have spent a lot of time in Waco, but it doesn't wash.

If Bush and the Bushies want to convince people the economy is doing well they should put more corporate crooks in jail, No. 1. Five just won't do it. If they think that was cleaning house, they've got to rethink the situation. More people in more jail cells and maybe more CEOs will think long and hard about ripping off the investors.

Secondly, the Bushies have got to institute something solid about this stock option business. If I buy stock in GE, I darn well do not want to find out the management has been diluting the stock by giving executives tons of stock options as extra pay, which has the effect of creating shares of stock by fiat of the board of directors, and cuts my stake in the company without my being able to say yea or nay.

By the way, I benefited from stock options from GE and I was happy to get them, let me tell you. It makes your vision foggy. All you think about is what the damn things are worth to you and I only had a few hundred options. When the CEO has millions, it changes the way he or she runs the company.

Bush and his team should also tell the country straight up that he's going to run deficits for the only reason that is good enough to run deficits -- war.

Wars cost lots and lots of money. We've already spent a ton and we're going to spend a ton more. Bush should say, we're going to have to soldier through these times because we are going to conduct a war. When it's over we can erase the deficits and move ahead. Meantime, it's good economic sense to cut taxes, spur some investment, borrow money by issuing treasury bonds to build the war machine and get through this ugly time.

When anybody says, "how come the economy stinks?" Bush should say it doesn't stink, it just isn't a peacetime economy. Clinton was able to shrink the military -- remember the so-called peace dividend?

Well, it's war now and instead of a dividend we've got a bill. That's the way it is.

Put crooks in jail. Keep interest rates down, keep people employed and win the war. That should be the Bush strategy for these times and it shouldn't come out of Waco, even though it's a perfectly nice place.

This story needs to be told on Wall Street or in the nation's capitol. Enough said.

That's My Word.

What do you think? We'd like to hear from you, so send us your comments at Some of your emails will be featured on the air or on our site.

• Looking for some previous My Word columns? Click here!