But first:

Sound advice from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service on kids and money:

Ages 3-6: Start an allowance for your child at age five or six. Discuss money with your child when shopping, going to the bank, or attending church. Teach and set a good example by using the 50-40-10 rule: 50% spending, 40% savings and 10% charitable giving.

Ages 7-12: Comparison shop with your child. Clip coupons, and provide opportunities for your child to earn extra cash.

Ages 12-15: Invite your child to join in family budget conferences. Help your child set short-term financial goals and save for special items. Consider matching their savings.

Ages 15-18: Have your child open a checking account, and teach record-keeping skills. Let them make mistakes now so they will learn skills and avoid more costly mistakes later on.

Ah, the innocence of it.

And now for something less innocent. Consider:

The Clintons invested and lost $40,000 in an ill-fated real estate tax shelter. Endless investigations. Endless press coverage. Over what? But Bush’s $800,000 insider stock trade . . . which was so egregious on its face (he was on the three-man audit committee, for crying out loud) that the S.E.C. chose to investigate (and did not exonerate him, as Bush told people it did) . . . well, that gets a pass. His daddy was President of the United States and the S.E.C. chose not to pursue it. Case closed. No hoo-hah. ‘Get over it,’ as the bullying Republicans endlessly repeat. ‘Stop whining.’

Knock 91,000 African Americans off the Florida voter roles, almost all of them legally entitled to vote? ‘Get over it!’ ‘Stop whining!’ OK, so an election was stolen in this and a couple of other ways. Should that be a big deal? Get over it!

Candidate Bush tells us that – even with the recession that he predicts (and may have helped precipitate or worsen by talking down the economy) – we can have a massive tax cut for the wealthy, prescription drug assistance for the elderly, a major build-up for the military, and still not have to raid the Social Security surplus or return to deficit. And it is a multi-trillion dollar lie. Not a miscalculation – they knew all along these numbers didn’t add up.

Does deceit of this magnitude matter?

President Bush said he barely even knew Ken Lay – and it turns out they were tight.

Does this matter?

He says the latest tax cut was designed for job creation. In fact, it was heavily skewed to the people who already have all they want and will pump up the economy least. What credible economist looks at this tax bill and agrees it was crafted as the best way to create jobs?

Does this matter?

We all want to like George W. Bush. He’s our President, and a great looking, personally likable guy. That counts for a lot. But is that really the most important thing?

And then there’s Iraq. Click here.


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