Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Pox on Both Their Houses

More than a year after President George W. Bush left office, more Americans continue to blame his administration over any other entity for the nation's economic woes, according to a new poll.

In a New York Times/CBS News survey out Friday, 31 percent of Americans said the Bush administration is at fault for the current state of the economy while only 7 percent pointed their finger at President Obama and his team.
My assessment differs somewhat from this poll's;  I would argue that the following pre-Obama policies played the main role in generating the current mess:

1. The housing policies pursued by HUD, FHA, Fannie, and Freddie.

2. The implicit (almost explicit) guarantees issued by the Fed that it could clean up the housing bubble without much fuss;

3. The growth of expenditure during the Bush administration (Medicare prescription drug coverage, Middle East Wars, pork for everyone).

4. The Wall Street bailouts.
But then I would argue that the following Obama policies have made the recession deeper and longer:

1. Endorsement of the Wall Street bailouts (Obama voted for TARP and appointed a key architect, Tim Geithner, as his Treasury Secretary)

2. The auto bailouts;

3. The fiscal stimulus;

4. Populist ranting at Wall Street over compensation, taxes;

5. Refusal to extend the Bush tax cuts, or repeal the estate tax, or cut taxes rates generally;

6. Pre-occupation with resdistribution over productivity: health care, card check, auction-less cap-and-trade, and continued support for low-income homeownership.
Thus, plenty of blame to go around.

4 comments:

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rosey said...

I agree with you that there is plenty blame to go around which is why you now have a backlash against incumbency. In addition to the upward (and un-conservative-like) spending during the second Bush Admin, the oversight of Government controlled entitities (i.e., Fed Reserve, Fannie & Freddie etc) have really been key here. The lack of fiscal oversight to the point of absurdity by those who are charged with ensuring our tax dollars are wisely spent has led to most our ills. The mounting (and probably insurrmountable) debt and wasteful spending gave Obama the impetus he needed to continue and accelerate the habit.

Howard said...

I happen to think that we are in an ethics caused downturn having nothing to do with economics. As a society we prey upon one another economically at almost every level. We cheat on taxes, lie about our products, steal when we get the opportunity, and so on. What we have today is simply the end of the chain of this particular "grifter" economy. As we lick our wounds Goldman and the rest continue to screw everyone they can. When each of us accepts responsibility for the ethics lapses we might be able to fix this current dilemma.

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