Nobel Laureate: Bush Will Prove Worse then Hoover
While Democrats are off proving that only Republicans can use a "hold" effectively, here's what a sober, actually serious mind has to say about what's coming:
The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine.
But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.
And it gets worse.
After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.
Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle “worst president” when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.
I'd argue that part about "no threat" but I don't have a Nobel, so what do I know. Bernard has the highlights:
Inequality is now widening in America, and at a rate not seen in three-quarters of a century. A young male in his 30s today has an income, adjusted for inflation, that is 12 percent less than what his father was making 30 years ago.
As many as 1.7 million Americans are expected to lose their homes in the months ahead. For many, this will mean the beginning of a downward spiral into poverty. Between March 2006 and March 2007 personal-bankruptcy rates soared more than 60 percent.
Some portion of the damage done by the Bush administration could be rectified quickly. A large portion will take decades to fix—and that’s assuming the political will to do so exists both in the White House and in Congress. Think of the interest we are paying, year after year, on the almost $4 trillion of increased debt burden—even at 5 percent, that’s an annual payment of $200 billion, two Iraq wars a year forever.
I still am not sure "America" will pay this debt in its entirety. Future generations won't have the same political landscape as we do, and I wonder at how the political narrative will evolve, as the crushing burden of Bush-era financial decisions becomes unbearable.