One of the most famous quotes in modern American politics came from Bill Clinton when discussing the upcoming presidential race. “It’s the economy, stupid” were the few, simple words that so clearly summed up what American politics at that time was all about. Bill Clinton left office in 2001 .

It’s STILL the economy stupid! The focus of the country, and every politician, is necessarily the economy. It seems people have forgotten that when the last Democrat left office there was a budget surplus.  The Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans had not been instituted, and the economy was thriving. Somehow the “job creators” were creating jobs even without tax cuts. After the Bush tax cuts, we have higher unemployment, and escalating debt.

Every Republican Candidate in my lifetime has advertised themselves as a “fiscal conservative.” At a time when the nation debt is threatening our ability to survive, being a “fiscal conservative” sounds pretty good. Unfortunately being a “fiscal conservative” seems to mean whatever politicians want it to be. President Obama was unable to negotiate with the Republican majority in Congress, those “fiscal conservatives,” who insisted on renewing the Bush tax cuts. The Bush tax cuts cost the United States $2.8 trillion, with the Bush years costing roughly $1.5 trillion, and now $1.3 trillion is attributed to the Obama presidency. Total income for the country was reduced during the Bush years by $2.74 trillion. The Bush tax cuts benefited 1 out of 1,000 tax payers who were part of the top tenth of 1 percent of Americans.

Mike Lefgren, a RETIRED Republican Staffer explained it this way”

“My party talks a good game, railing about the immorality of passing debt on to our children. But the same Congressional Budget Office that punctured Obama’s budget also concluded that the major policies that swung the budget from a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion in 2001 to the present 10-year deficit of $6.2 trillion were Republican in origin.

The Bush tax cuts have added another $3 trillion in red ink. While Republican leaders wail that Americans — particularly their rich contributors — are overtaxed, the facts say otherwise: U.S. taxpayers, particularly the wealthiest, pay far less in taxes than they would in most other developed countries.Today, the 400 wealthiest Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 125 million. The GOP insists that those wealthy people use their money to create jobs, and that taxing them more heavily would ultimately hurt the economy. But, if that’s so, why was the rate of job creation in the decade after the Bush tax cuts the poorest in any decade since before World War II?

Like a drunk swearing off hooch for the hundredth time, Republicans are now trying to show they are serious about controlling the deficit…”

Given the importance of economic issues in the 2012 election, consider these facts:

NET WORTH

Mitt Romney - $85-264 million.

Herman Cain - $18 million

 Sarah Palin – $14 Million

Michele Bachmann - $1.05 million.

Rick Perry - $1 million

SOURCE OF WEALTH

Mitt Romney inherited his wealth.

Herman Cain earned his fortune through various entrepreneurial undertakings, including Godfather’s Pizza.

Sarah Palin earned her wealth as a result of political notoriety and the resulting celebrity status. At the time she became a politician the money she earned was the highest income she had earned in her lifetime.

Michele Bachmann has earned her wealth from working for the IRS, being a US Representative, and from her ownership interest in a farm and clinic. The farm and clinic have each received payments from the government through farm subsidies and Medicaid payments. Thus all of Bachmann’s wealth is the result in whole, or in part, of governmental support.

Rick Perry has been employed by the government of the state of Texas since 1984. (any connection to the book is purely coincidental)

Obviously the critical criterion for determining whether someone is a true “fiscal conservative” is not the amount or the source of their wealth. Sam Walton died in 1992 and was at the time the world’second richest man.  At the time of his death Wal-Mart had grown to over 2300 stores with annual revenues of $104.8 Billion per year.  This wealth was created by a man who came from extremely modest beginnings and who did his part during the depression to help the family income by delivering newspapers and helping his mother run a small milk business she started with a few cows. Mr. Walton explained that :

“We learned how much hard work it took to get your hands on a dollar, and that when you did it was worth something.”

Sam Walton was known also for living very frugally, in spite of his wealth. Today, his son, Jim C. Walton, runs the company created by his father, so his wealth is the result of both inheritance and his entrepreneurial spirit. Jim Walton’s net worth has been estimated to be $16.4 Billion. In spite of wealth that most of us could never imagine, Jim drives a 15-year-old Dodge Dakota.

I wonder what Sam Walton would have to say about the spending of the Republican candidates to decorate the buses they are using for the Presidential campaigns.

Mitt Romney

Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Herman Cain

Sarah Palin

The bus that appears to be the least decorative, and the bus that appears to have cost the least to decorate, is the bus of Hermain Cain, the only candidate who is a true entrepreneur. Palin’s bus is the most extravagantly decorated, is estimated to have cost $35,000.00 just for the temporary decoration. This extravagant bus was rented in May of 2011, and she still appears to be using the same bus. Given the “Sarah Palin” name emblazoned on the bus, and the trademark infringement words of “One Nation,” it seems likely the rental company is charging Palin the rental fee for the bus as it sits unused in a parking lot for most of the last three months. The kind of bus or car a person drives tells a lot about just how fiscally conservative they really are.  Moreover, because of the poor judgment of Palin and the trademark infringement claim, it is likely that this bus will cost her far in excess of the cost of rental and decoration.