Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bush's Effect on the Economy

Is President Bush really at fault for the current state of economy? I cannot be sure, but I am willing to propose a deal. I'll assign blame to President Bush if he continues to espouse claims that he is responsible for the economic growth that we had since 2003.


Here is a post from Dan Froomkin showing a cornucopia of articles that have recently been written regarding President Bush and his economic policies. Moreover, the sampling of articles shows that the president has taken credit for the economic growth that followed after the small recession in 2001.


But what does the President really affect? Well, Robert Samuelson answered that question here:


We have a $14 trillion economy. The idea that presidents can control it lies between an exaggeration and an illusion. Our presidential preferences ought to reflect judgments about candidates' character, values, competence and their views on issues where what they think counts: foreign policy; long-term economic and social policy -- how they would tax and spend; health care; immigration. Forget the business cycle.
So, where does the President fit in to our current predicament? Well, if you are looking to assign blame to him, the best you can do is to exclaim that President Bush has once again been inept in at least the rhetoric towards our economy. In order to make sure that he does not give a "Malaise Speech," President Bush has provided a continuing rosy picture. In essence, our president has risked his personal image of intelligence - or whatever was left of it - in order to not be blamed for affecting consumer confidence, or be blamed for being pessimistic as Carter was.

Unfortunately, avoiding a nation's gripping concerns does not help. Also, from what I can see now and in the history books, our country could still stand to grow more in hearing bad news, and deal with larger problems as adults and active citizens. Barack Obama's campaign is essentially revolving around that theme of active citizenship. If Obama is elected, maybe our mindset as citizens will change in how we tackle problems together as a nation.

One thing that an election of President Obama, or Clinton, or McCain will
not provide is immediate economic relief. While the President can help push, or veto, certain bills regarding spending and taxation, an economic downturn that is spurred continuously by a lack of confidence in the recent securitization of mortgages is not something that this president, or any president could have been responsible for.

And even then, why all of a sudden now, do so-called "Republicans" start acting and speaking as if they were Democrats? A large collection of officials have jumped to the fore in advocating the Federal Reserves need to help out the economy. Why jump the "invisible hand of the market" ship now? Well, as IOZ would tell you, those who are elected and espouse claims of their love of capitalism are not really selling you the idea of real capitalism. Rather, we tend to forget all the taxes on imported goods and agriculture, but that seems to be okay because they will tell us we are protecting our own interests. Even our own Federal Reserve system operates in a way that is not free-market principle. The Federal Reserves hand is anything but invisible in our market.

The machine of what we denote as capitalism is far too large to assign blame on one man, President Bush. But, maybe he deserves it. If he can say that the policies he's been pushing for our economy are responsible for the economic upturn after our short recession early in his presidency, which is a stretch, then how is he
not responsible for the economic downturn?

In either case, we all still miss the issue that there is a war going on, and while wars help in the economic short run, in the long run, wars prove to be a drag on our economy. (Let alone the "soft power" costs of fighting an unjust war.) Now that definitely has people signing off on it. And at the top of that list of approval, is a man by the name of Bush.
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