From DR. RAVI BATRA
Professor of Economics at SMU
About eight years ago, there was frenzied and furious talk about WMDs, or weapons of mass destruction. Both the frenzy and the fury came from President George W. Bush and his administration, prior to the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and soon thereafter. The president’s poll ratings had soared in the aftermath of the quick American victory in Afghanistan, which was the base from which al-Qaeda had launched 9/11. In order to keep his poll numbers up, the president and his officials were in a hurry to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. There was a frenzy of claims that Saddam possessed WMDs including chemical arms and nuclear weapons. But when none were found, the officials were furious that Saddam, so to speak, had deceived them. They were also furious at their critics who wondered aloud if the entire WMD claim was actually a fabrication.
The Iraq invasion turned out to be a colossal mistake in terms of lost lives and heavy expenditures that sharply raised the federal budget deficit. However, few realize that the Bush administration made a far bigger mistake in using what may be called Weapons of Mass Exploitation or WMEs, which have all but decimated the US economy and continue to do so.
A WME is a short-term financial palliative that makes the rich richer but postpones economic troubles, while seeming to cure the problems of unemployment