USA ELECTIONS: THE REAL PRESIDENT, ALAN GREENSPAN, REMAINS IN OFFICE - 5 November, 2000

WHOEVER WINS ON “SUPER TUESDAY”, THE RESULT WILL BE THE SAME, SINCE IT WILL BE NEITHER GORE NOR BUSH WHO RUNS THE COUNTRY. Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, starts every day by looking at a sign on the wall of his office : “The buck starts here”. “Buck” is the idiomatic word for “dollar” but also means “responsibility” in American English slang. Indeed, while the Presidents of the USA play in the Oval Office, some playing games more inventive than others, the real power behind the throne is contained within the walls of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Chairman, near the White House. President Clinton renewed Greenspan’s four-year appointment earlier this year, giving him the responsibility over the USA’s de facto financial and economic policy until 2004. Greenspan has retained his position since he was appointed by President Reagan in 1987. With the economy of the USA growing by 60% since 1991, it matters less to the voters who wins the elections than in times of economic recession – when lifestyles are comfortable, people are less politically motivated. When times are hard, they express their wills through political movements. It is therefore understandable that a 40% abstention vote may well win the election ahead of whichever candidate manages a greater share of the remaining 60%! Despite having spent 100 million dollars each on their election campaigns, it seems that neither of the candidates has managed to convince “Middle America” that politics and politicians are more important than the dollar in the pocket. Gore’s slogan is “Prosperity is on the ballot”, pointing to a continuation of the prosperity Americans gained under the eight-year Clinton/Gore administration. Bush prefers the slogan “ Let the American dream touch every willing heart”. Decoded and deciphered, this means a reduction in state investment, a right turn towards liberal economics and (God forbid) the unleashing of Condoleeza Rice as National Security Advisor. We have already read the diatribes of that lady in this newspaper. The prospect of having to put up with her warped and sick ideas for the next four years makes one reach for the bottle. We hope and pray that the American people will show the political maturity which Alexander Vechniakov is hoping to see in the United States of America on Super Tuesday. Tim Bancroft-Hinchey, Lisbon/London.