The Bank of England on Jan. 8 cut its interest rate by 50 basis points to 1.5 percent on Jan. 8. What is the significance of that seemingly hum-drum announcement? Drum-roll please! The rate slice makes BoE’s interest rate the lowest it has been for the last 315 years. Or to be more precise, the bank hasn’t offered such a “steal” since 1694.
The British rate cut, sadly, received little more than a Bronx cheer. The FTSE 100 Index slipped on the news. One wag in O’Dwyer’s office suggested that investors are waiting for BoE governors to slash the rate to levels not seen since the Dark Ages, or to when the Vikings were pillaging the British coast as they did in 793 when “pagans from the north came to Britain like stinging hornets,” wrote a Saxon observer about the first raid on England. It apparently will take more than stinging hornets to get the U.K and America’s economies back on track.
The good news here is that change is coming. The countdown clock to Obama’s Inauguration ticks loudly following Bush’s swan song. The former decider-in-chief, now the denier-in-chief, went out with a bang, singing the praises of the federal rescue of New Orleans after Katrina. After admitting the reconstruction hasn’t been “perfect,” and that more needs to be done, the President said he basically deserves a pat on the back for his effort.
“People said, well, the federal response was slow. Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. I remember going to see those helicopter drivers, Coast Guard drivers, to thank them for their courageous efforts to rescue people off roofs. Thirty thousand people were pulled off roofs right after the storm moved through. It's a pretty quick response.
“Could things have been done better? Absolutely. Absolutely. But when I hear people say, the federal response was slow, then what are they going to say to those chopper drivers, or the 30,000 that got pulled off the roofs?”
More than 1,300 Americans died in Katrina. Families shattered. Jobs lost. Thousands homeless. Even the notorious “Brownie” now admits he failed to appreciate the severity of Katrina. But as the saying goes when it comes to the President, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Bush slinks from the national stage with eyes shut to reality. The new Justice Dept. and Congress will soon debate whether commissions should be formed and juries seated to judge crimes against the U.S. Constitution made during the last eight years. Do Americans want to set the record straight for future generations?
Or do we want to shut our own eyes to the abuses of Bush/Cheney?