Earth to Washington

Yoo hoo, White House and Congress, excuse us all the way to hell, but could you possibly take a minute or two from beating your chests and trying to out-do each other with your war whooping against Saddam Hussein to notice that we've got a little problem here on the homefront?

I'm not talking about the Homeland Security Department, with its new ensemble of gun-toting federal agents and its cute, color-coded, terrorism-alert scheme. Instead, maybe you might notice that our so-called economy has moved into Code Red, threatening our national security in ways that the blowhard thug in Iraq can't approach. Check it out:

* In just the last year, the Dow Jones has lost 25 percent of its value and the Nasdaq is down by 40 percent, and people's retirement funds have suffered a 30 percent drop in value.

* Two million jobs have been lost, unemployment keeps climbing, and long-term unemployment has doubled under Bush.

* Corporate profits and corporate investment are down, while poverty and the number of people without health care are up.

* Consumer debt is at an all-time, absurd high, and bankruptcies are getting hot enough to set the woods on fire.

Where's the leadership, Republican or Democrat? Congress has adjourned for the year without lifting a finger to deal with America's economic wounds. Instead, both parties are now on the campaign trail pointing fingers of blame at each other, which is no salve at all for an economy that'll only get worse between now and next year when they reconvene.

Real people are being hurt. But the president, supposedly our nation's top economic leader, is AWOL. Bush could only babble that, "There's a lot of talk about job creation, and there should be." After this nonsensical and feeble comment, he jumped on Air Force One and rushed off to Michigan for a $1.4 million fund-raising event with the economic elites.

Instead of black-tie fund-raising dinners, the whole passel of these incumbents ought to be sitting at America's kitchen tables, listening to reality ... and responding.


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