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You know the answer. There’s now a concerted effort under way to rehabilitate Mr. Bush’s image on at least three fronts: the economy, the deficit and the war.

On the economy: Last week Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, declared that “there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.” So now the word is that the Bush-era economy was characterized by “vibrancy.”

I guess it depends on the meaning of the word “vibrant.” The actual record of the Bush years was (i) two and half years of declining employment, followed by (ii) four and a half years of modest job growth, at a pace significantly below the eight-year average under Bill Clinton, followed by (iii) a year of economic catastrophe. In 2007, at the height of the “Bush boom,” such as it was, median household income, adjusted for inflation, was still lower than it had been in 2000.



Just as a general point you shouldn't look at political economy without including government debt figures as well. I mean, in theory Bush might have achieved his modest job growth versus Clinton because Clinton racked up large amounts of debt indulging in Keynesian job-creation schemes. The fact that this didn't happen, that the debt fell substantially under Clinton and skyrocketed under Bush is just another argument for why 'W' was one of the worst Presidents of all time, however the point still stands that you shouldn't talk about the effectiveness of governments in terms ordinarily subject to expenditure (such as job creation) without also talking about how these programmes are financed and, as such, government debt.

the debt fell substantially under Clinton and skyrocketed under Bush

More people need to point this fact out.

Say what you like about Clinton, the US economy did very well during the 8 years he was in office. He left Bush and his party a wealthy, smoothly running country, and they quickly set about driving it into the ground.

It is terribly, terribly sad that today the Republicans can get away with talking about "fiscal responsibility" or even fiscal policy in general; never mind the myriad of other revisionist machinations they have going...

That dot com bubble was awesome. Wonder why Bill won't tell Barry how to make that happen again.

Got to support this comment, even though I dislike Bush and do think he did damage to the economy, but I don't think it was all his fault. Nor do I think he did anything meaningful to help the economy... though, the post 9-11 super low interest rate car loan did get me into a nice used Nissan Altama :)

Point being, economies are massive multi headed dragons. Thinking that Bush is the sole reason for its destruction is just as narrow minded as thinking that Obama is its sole hope for recovery. The economy can be pushed around by the President, or knocked around by the full weight of Congress and the President, but these instant effects are not what makes for a future of growth.

Investing in infrastructure, education and providing a consistent and fair (but in no way risk-free) environment are the main tasks of government that will lead to a better economy. But they are long looking and difficult to explain policies. Massive tax cuts only make the rich feel a little richer, massive job programs only make the poor feel a little less poor, but neither are foundation for a good economy. Both are just feel good measures that if used exactly right, will only help around the edges of the economy in the short term.

I'm not an economist, but I play one on TV.

Who's Barry?

That dot com bubble was awesome.

It was only in effect during the last two years of Clinton's presidency. Link

Wonder why Bill won't tell Barry how to make that happen again.

It was called the real estate bubble and it made the dot-com bubble look like a harmless hiccup ("the worldwide rise in house prices is the biggest bubble in history", The Economist, 2005.) When it popped, it was part of what caused all the financial deregulation problems (enacted by Republicans, most of them under Bush) to blow up in everyone's faces.

Generally, bubbles themselves cannot be blamed on politicians alone. Bubbles happen.

The poor recovery from the dot-com bubble and the fucked-up circumstances surrounding the real estate bubble were both entirely the fault of Bush et al.


ROFLMAO...and the one who's doing the rehabilitating is none other than "BP" Obama and the democRat leadership. You are a stitch.

Comparing Bush deficits to Clinton is kind of funny, too. Clinton was the beneficiary if Reagan's policies. Republicans were the vanguards of balanced budgets in the 90's. Look at the debt now, suckas. That's due to a party who wants to commit suicide.

Speaking of comedy gold, this is a gem:

Clinton was the beneficiary if Reagan's policies. Republicans were the vanguards of balanced budgets in the 90's.

1993, Clinton pushed through a tax increase on the wealthiest American in a budget that got not one Republican vote. Every supply-side loony said it was going to puch the country in the second dip of a double-dip recession. Newt Gingrinch, leader of the "vangaurd" of which you write:

A guaranteed disaster, without a doubt.

Here's "mental-recession" Phil Gramm:

I want to predict here tonight, that if we adopt this bill the American economy is going to get weaker and not stronger, the deficit four years from today will be higher than it is today and not lower ... When all is said and done, people will pay more taxes, the economy will create fewer jobs, the government will spend more money, and the American people will be worse off.

This brilliant prognostication was offered on the evening that Clinton's budget passed in the spring of 1993 - after which the United States was launched into the longest economic expansion since WW II - an expansion in which the annual real growth rate was 3.7% - easily exceeding the preceding the previous 12 Reagan-Bush years and following the 7.5 Bush years. At the end of those terrible Clinton years, the US budget was in surplus and employment was burgeoning.

Supply-side economics was fantasyland on which Reaganomics was based - it never worked - budgets never balanced. Republicans only care about deficits when they're not in the White House.

There’s now a concerted effort under way to rehabilitate Mr. Bush’s image on at least three fronts: the economy, the deficit and the war.

I love conservative blindness to the facts on these things.

On a slightly different topic, I find it amazing how unpopular our presidents are when they leave office.

This article has some numbers, but not exactly what I was looking for.

Think of the final days of Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2. I feel like all have left office on a thud and then gradually improved afterwards. Reagan may be an acception to this, but I in part think that was about him being percieved as old and out of the loop when he left. Folks didn't completely blame him for the scandals of his second term.

But it doesn't seem to be about the men themselves. Carter, Bush 1, and Clinton have all become much more respected as former presidents.

My gut tells me that this in some way linked to the Filibuster. Here's how. The Filibuster is essentially a made up rule that does little more than paralizes the Senate. The process not only blocks bills without 60% of the votes, but literally everything, because it wastes weeks of senate time whenever used.

Team that up with a slandered and abused president and what you get is a Govt that has accomplished almost nothing but tax cuts and small wars in 35 years.

I am reminded of a story I once heard of a Carter supporter meeting the then president in the oval office. He said to the president that he was affraid, "he wasn't really in charge of running the country." Carter replied back with something like. "I am aafraid of that too."

Bush was a poor actor, so the illusion that he was in control of anything was so fragile, it cracked well before he took office.


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