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Saturday, December 03, 2005


Some Facts About The Economy

The booming economy created by the Clinton administration was the product of getting the deficit down, and running budget surpluses. Clinton did it by created some short-term pain for the rich by raising taxes (and some pain for liberals by cutting services). I have to admit, I winced when he said, "The era of big government is over."

I soon got over it, becuase the payoff was huge. My take home pay went up and the country saw more investment, more rapid productivity growth, higher job growth, lower interest rates and rising real wages and income. By the time Clinton left office everyone had warmed up to the merits of balanced budgets, and low interest rates that went hand in hand with fiscal responsibility.

Then George Bush came. Not content to be the care-taker President he was elected to be, Bush decided to trash the Clinton system of fiscal reponsibility in favor of wreckless tax cuts and out of controll spending. Now we have Republicans crowing about the current "recovery". That is like a drunk taking pride in "recovering" from his hangover. One period of slightly improved economic numbers and it seems to mean that "tax cuts work" and that deficits don't matter. With nothing else to talk about, I expect Bush to make many more speeches about how great the economy is. If the DOW manages to crack 11,000 he will probably declare "Mission Accomplished" in a prime time speech.

But I don't expect a return to the Clintonesque salad years. Because deficits DO matter and interest rates respond to fiscal responsibility, not speeches.

I have often felt that Bush's economic policy is more disasterous than the Iraq debacle.

I'm currently reading "The Price of Loyalty" by Ron Suskind, which recounts the experience of Paul O'Neill as Bush's first treasury secretary. It offers a stark contrast with Robert Rubin's memoir, "In an Uncertain World."
You have absolutely lost your God-forsaken mind. The Clinton economy was a product of two things: The Reagan tax cuts and the internet bubbble. We were well on our way to a recession for the last 3 quarters of the Clinton years.
The O'Neil/Rubin contrast is telling. The Bush adminstration demolished the walls between the "poltical" offices of the Presidency and the "policy" offices of the Presidency. No decision the Bush white house made was based on coherent policy, but every decision was made on advancing a larger Republican political agenda.

So, I'm kind of surprised that gooper took the Reagan tact instead of the repeating the 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 mantra that so many wing-nuts think tends to excuse Bush screw-ups that flowed out of putting "politics" ahead of sound "policy".

I was ready to contrast Clinton's disruption of terrorists’ networks while building international stability and cooperation to Bush’s international bungling and outright dereliction of duty in not continuing Clinton's prosecution of terrorists.

Maybe, goper has heard of the April PDB and is able to be more objective about politics/policy conflict than most Republican apologists for the failed Bush regime.
Look, I'm not a Bush apologist. He is a Conservative, but he's not conservative. The profligate spending that he and the leaders in Congress are participating in is shameful. But the economy has responded to the tax cuts in near-record fashion. I try to listen to facts and the GDP growth and job numbers are facts.

And please don't tell me that terrorism was ever a focus of the Clinton administration. It is well-documented that he could have had Bin Laden and didn't take advantage.
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