August 9th, 2004


Polish on their way out of Iraq?

President Bush invited the Polish Prime Minister to the White House today, apparently to persuade them not to withdraw forces from Iraq in the upcoming months. Following their talks, there was a press conference...

Q Mr. President, Polish government is going to significantly reduce number of Polish troops in Iraq early next year. Did you ask Polish Prime Minister not to do that? And could you both comment on the fact that 73 percent of Poles are opposed to Polish military presence in Iraq?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I'll be glad to talk about opinion polls . . . And I'll let the Prime Minister talk about troops . . .

PRIME MINISTER BELKA: Well, I guess, no one wants to stay in Iraq forever.

Yeah. That sounds promising.

Oil prices go through the roof.

The price of oil hit $44.98 a barrel today, the highest price ever posted on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after Sadr's uprising forced closure of the oil pumps in Southern Iraq.

"Pumping from the southern oilfields to storage tanks at Basra was stopped today after threats made by Al-Sadr," the official told Reuters. "It will remain stopped until the threat is over."

Did you know that each $1-a-barrel increase in the price of oil is equivalent to a $3 billion tax on the US economy? The average price of Iraqi crude in January 2002 -- before war seemed inevitable -- was $17.70 a barrel. That means an increase of approximately $27.30 a barrel since that time, or an increase in costs to consumers of approximately $80 billion dollars a year.

Add in the cost of the war, and you're talking over $4,000 a household. That pretty much wipes out Bush's tax cut for everyone except the rich, doesn't it?