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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

It's the economy stupid « Previous | |Next »
October 24, 2003

The pundits seem to be falling over themselves lauding the imperial presidency's momentary presence in Australia. Great guy, full of warmth, looks you in the eye. All that sort of gushy stuff. The other side of the coin is serving up cold fish to the two Green Senators (Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle) for their political transgressions. "Self-serving egoists", says Gareth Parker dismissively.

Let me throw a bit a bit of cold water on the celebrations. It's the economy stupid. It's the economy. Bush has big problems. Remember the increasing deficit fuelled by tax cuts and military spending?

Here are some choice remarks by Joseph Stiglitz, author of Globalization and Its Discontents. That book argued that the IMF and its minders at the U.S. Treasury relentlessly pushed the items on Wall Street's business agenda -- such as capital market "liberalization" -- even when it led to disaster for the countries involved.

So what does Stiglitz say about the US economy under the Bush watch? He says:

"The huge tax cut in the US was very badly designed to stimulate the economy. And there has been a huge increase in mainly military spending. Yet what is remarkable is how little stimulus has been given. The US economy is still in a precarious state."

After that note of caution He says:

"Dealing with the deficit will absorb the US political economy for years to come. We're back to the Reagan era. The trade deficit has the underlying problem of what will happen when foreigners decide to stop funding the US deficit. On the private side there is a huge gap in private pension funds. Any other economy would be under water."

Then he sticks the boot in:

"The image is Adam Smith. The reality is Enron. But the really bad news is to come. What is likely to happen is more of a languishing malaise, with very weak job recovery."

That should help to cut the all powerful imperial presidency down to size.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:42 PM | | Comments (1)


The media used to call Reagan the "Teflon President" because nothing stuck.

Bush the younger and his people apparently welcome comparisons to Reagan, so I'm sure they'd be happy to inherit the Teflon mantle.

So far, there's not much evidence that Bush is being personally blamed for the economy. Lots of dopey Americans blame 9/11 and too few connect the huge and growing deficits either to economic problems down the road or even to Bush's tax cuts.

It's quite depressing, actually.

One of the Democrats needs to start spouting all-deficit, all-the-time. One not planning to win the party's nomination, of course, but someone willing and able to put the party first.

I nominate Lieberman.