Whitewashing the Bush Years

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do you need some ammo to win debates with your conservative "friends" over who caused the current state of our economy? 

Memorize this Krugman column.


Chris Of Rights 5:06 PM  

The problem with using someone like Krugman as your source in how to win a debate, is that you end up looking the foolish one, not the one you're debating.

Krugman can't count past 10 without taking his shoes off. I mean, for Pete's sake, he still believes in Keynesian economics, which is provably and demonstrably a failure. Anyone who still believes in it at this point is a danger to himself and to society and should be locked up.

As usual for Krugman, there are many factual problems and serious holes in his analysis.

Conservatives did not "always love his policies and his governing style". He was a big government politician, and conservatives hated him for that. As for tax cuts, they quite obviously helped greatly with the economy. The minor deficit explosion (compared to the last two years) was due to his big government policies, and the deficit would have been held in check had it not been for those.

The tax cuts, however, did succeed in getting the economy growing again in 2002. Krugman and his ilk like to pretend that 9/11 never happened and that it didn't nearly bring the American economy to its knees. They also like to pretend that the economy was already in decline before Bush was even elected. Given those two things, the economic rebound produced by Bush was nothing short of amazing. The truth of the matter is that from 2001 to 2006, we had steady low unemployment (generally sub 5%), and an expanding economy, generally in the 2.5-3.0% range. That's not spectacular, and should have been much better. However, the sour mood on the wars lead to dampened spending and slower economic growth. The MSM helped this along at every turn by reminding us constantly how awful things were in Iraq (even when they weren't) and how awful the economy was (which it wasn't).

There's a reason I stopped at 2006 and I'll get to that in a moment. But, in point of fact, what caused the financial crisis in 2008 can be clearly and plainly linked to the Democrats. You do remember the TARP bill that was supposed to solve everything, right? The TA in TARP stands for toxic assets. These were loans that were made by banks that should have never been made, but were required due to the financial engineering by Dodd and Franks (the engineers of the new FinReg bill, and if that fact doesn't terrify you, nothing will). It's worth pointing out that both Bush and McCain pointed out as early as 2003 that Fannie and Freddie were in trouble and needed to be investigated and overhauled. Democrats blocked this effort, claiming that it was typical Republican "scaremongering". Well, guess what? The scaremongering Republicans were right, and the Countrywide Democrats were wrong. Had Bush been able to enact his financial regulation reforms in 2003 or 2004, it's quite possible that the economic crisis in 2008 would never have occurred.

The truth is that the economy really started souring after the elections in 2006, when the Democrats took control of both houses. Fiscally responsible Republicans (which Bush never was) were no longer able to reign in the Bush spending spree, as the Democrats were more than willing to go along with it as long as they could pile on some of their own.

Here's a great graph for you. Yes, I know it oversimplifies the situation, but it is undeniable even to people like Krugman.

Here's another graph to go along with it, and the article is even by very left leaning Ezra Klein.

Chris Of Rights 5:07 PM  

(cont'd--cut due to character limit)

When people talk about the "failed economic policies of GW Bush", they clearly don't know what they're talking about. The last two years are perfect examples of "failed economic policies" not just here in the United States, but in Europe as well. All brought along by the same Keynesian thinking. Every economic move Obama has made has clearly made the economy worse and not better. If the Bush economic policies were failures, I'll take those failures over Obama's "successes" any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Obama's policies have put us on the exact same road as Greece and Italy, we're just a few years behind, but we're gaining fast.

This conservative will gladly debate an article of Krugman's anytime, because it's no challenge whatsoever.

Smitty 8:18 AM  

Bob, this is all you. I drank my way through Econ class.

Streak 11:14 AM  

hell, I will give it a shot. No offense to our oddly named friend, but his "critique" of Krugman and defense of Bush is incredibly weak. I think there is a bit of post hoc, ergo propter hoc in there, especially with the Democrats taking over the house in 06 and suddenly ruining the economy. I love how Republicans can have control for years, but any bad stuff that happens is because of a narrow majority in one house. Never mind that the Republicans controlled the Senate. Never mind any of that. And never mind that we don't have any evidence of actual policies that the narrow majority of Democrats in the house did. Nope. Just conjecture. They took over the house, and so any economic bad news after that has to be their fault. Duh.

But the biggest bunch of crap is the sense that Republicans were fiscally conservative. This love affair with tax cuts and their magical ability to raise revenue completely ignores the fiscal carnage that Bush and his Republican colleagues did from 2000 to 2006. How about two wars that Bush never included in his budgets? How about Medicare Part D, which, unlike the Obama healthcare plan, made no attempt to offset the costs. Yet another huge expenditure put on the credit card, while we pretend that tax revenues will increase as we cut taxes.

Don't get me wrong. I think targeted tax cuts can be effective at spurring the economy. But to pretend that the Bush tax cuts did that is, just that, pretend. You want a scary chart, just look at the debt President. Not completely fair, of course, because some of that is with the other party in control of the House. But worth examining.

But here is what gets me the most. According to Republicans and supply-siders, tax cuts increase revenue. Yet in 2000, the tax cuts were justified, not to increase revenue, but because we had a surplus. Why is it that no matter what the economic situation, Republicans want to cut taxes? Surplus, deficit, economic boom, recession, etc? Kind of like the Far Side on treating horses.

And, btw, actual economists actually think that Keynes had a lot to contribute. Bruce Bartlett, the radical leftist who used to work for Jack Kemp and, I believe, Ron Paul, has suggested that Keynes was a conservative because he wanted to fend off actual socialism (not the fake stuff that Palin, et al shriek about). But Bartlett probably needs to be locked up too, as he thought Bush was an idiot.

Monk-in-Training 1:09 PM  

Hey guys,
I am off this week at a Monastery in upstate New York. One of the Brothers brought a frig full of home made beer, last night I had his 'porter' named St. Gregory's Porter.

I wish I could save some for you but unfortunately it appears that the Brotherhood will leave an empty fridge behind...

Bless O Lord, Your creature beer....

Smitty 1:41 PM  

One of the Brothers brought a frig full of home made beer

I am jealous, and don't much care that that's a sin!

Streak 3:15 PM  

Monastary. Beer. Fridge.

I knew I grew up in the wrong faith tradition.

Rickey Henderson 7:25 AM  

Oh how Rickey loves that brilliant garden gnome economist. Quoth the Krug:

"The truth, however, is that the only problem Republicans ever had with George W. Bush was his low approval rating."

Deftly stated.

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