Friday, December 28, 2007

Special interest

George Bush has announced, on the afternoon of the last working day of 2007, that he will veto the bill that gives a pay raise to soldiers along with other defence policy matters.

Misleading accounts of why the veto is being used will say that it's to protect assets of the new Iraqi government from being seized as part of lawsuits against the Saddam Hussein era government.

In fact it's to protect only those assets of the new government being held in the United States, where the lawsuits have jurisdiction. Thus what is being protected is not the assets themselves, which could be moved to pounds or euros in a flash, but the profit margin that accrues to US banks (and, implicitly, the US government) from these assets being held in dollars.

If one was looking for a signal that the administration is more panicked that it lets on about the move of financial assets out of dollars, this would be it. Of course there's also the simple explanation that Wall Street profits get higher priority than military salaries.

UPDATE: A White House Fact (sic) Sheet never mentions that only Iraqi government assets held in the US are affected.

FINAL UPDATE: Bush left it so late to veto the bill that technically it's a pocket veto, where the bill lapses by not being signed rather than being explicitly vetoed.

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