Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not so smart Republican economic calls

Time Magazine looks back at what they see as Bush's biggest economic mistakes, adding that "by almost every measure — GDP growth, jobs, median incomes, financial-market performance — he stacks up as probably the least-successful President on the economic front since Herbert Hoover. ... As the decider in the White House for the past eight years, George Bush made some economic calls that don't look smart today. Here are eight of them."

The Big Picture clicked through the list so we wouldn't have to.
1. The Return to Deficits: Bush’s tax cuts and spending increases — and clear disdain for the pay-as-you-go approach that had brought deficits down in the 1990s — brought a return to permanent deficits.
2. Iraq: Even if you think the war did bring benefits to the U.S., they would have to be pretty gigantic to justify the costs of $1-3 trillion dollars;
3. Tax Cuts for the Rich: Bush came to Washington facing almost diametrically opposing economic conditions, yet he offered up the same solutions as Reagan.
4. Financial Regulation: What is true is that most Bush-era financial regulators were less than enthusiastic about the very act of regulating, and that Bush’s “ownership society” push glossed over a lot of potential dangers.
5. Telling Us to Go Shopping: After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Bush didn’t call for sacrifice. He called for shopping.
6. Energy Policy: Not much to say here, except that there wasn’t an energy policy.
7. A State of Denial: Every Administration spins and sugarcoats the economic truth. But the Bush White House took this disingenuousness to new levels.
8. The Muddled Bailout: The main problem has been the ambivalence with which both Paulson and the White House have approached the financial rescue.
Bush was the decider, but Republicans were the enablers. They rubber-stamped every idea Bush threw their way, and questioning or discussing the merit behind his plans was verboten or "unpatriotic." After all, Republicans must not be challenged or questioned. They know best.

It turns out they weren't so smart after all, so why do they feel they deserve to be heard?
Republicans, who said they were receptive to Obama's call for a "unity of purpose," promptly tested the day-old administration. They criticized Democratic spending initiatives and requested a meeting with the president to air their tax-cutting plans.
There they go again! Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. I hope Obama politely listens and then tells them don't let the door hit you "thanks, but no thanks." Why? I'll let this economist speak for me:
Tax cuts won't build schools, or any other public good.

And right now, with so much of our infrastructure in need of attention, we need public goods.

We tried the tax cut approach to stimulating the economy once, we had no choice since Bush and the Republicans would not have passed any other type of stimulus package.

Guess what? It didn't work very well, and we have little to show for it. Had we, say, rebuilt water systems instead, at the very worst we'd have better water.
Republicans, please go back and read #7 above. You don't deserve to be heard as long as you continue to sing the same old song.

4 comments:

K. said...

The Republican patter is pretty tired, isn't it? Talk about the same old song.

I watched a video of Glenn Beck's softball interview of Sarah Palin, which Palinistas have been touting as proof of her growth and statesmanship. With the exception of a new haircut and glasses, it was the same old stuff: Thin, discredited ideas put over with a stumbling delivery.

abi said...

Well said, Kathy. :-)

It sounds like the Republican bullyboys are going to test Obama. Let's hope he stands up to them better than Clinton did.

Kathy said...

K, Glenn Beck must be jockeying to overtake Limbaugh's crown. He's trying to make a big deal out of the fact that Obama didn't use the Bible when Roberts swore him in the second time. Aside from the fact that a Bible isn't constitutionally required, it doesn't guarantee a person will be honest - as Bush, Cheney, Libby, et al proved. Republicans conveniently forget their own sins, eh?

Abi, "bullyboys" is an excellent description of their methods. I think Obama had them in mind when he talked of "putting childish things aside" at his inauguration.

And you're right about him needing to stand up to them. It's the only way to deal with bullies.

K. said...

I figure, let them carp re that Bible stuff. It preaches to the converted and turns off everyone else. The Becks and Limbaughs -- Fox News, for that matter -- are in the same boat as the rest of the hard right: To keep their listeners and viewers, they have to act outraged about marginal stuff, which has the effect of reducing their influence at large. To quote Flounder of Animal House, "This is great!"