Monday, January 12, 2009

Legacy

Imagine, some people look at this and see another BushCo failure.

President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, and economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly view his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation's thorniest fiscal challenges.

The number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush's tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration. And Americans' incomes grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, other than that of Bush's father.

[...]


"It's sad to say, but we really went nowhere for almost ten years, after you extract the boost provided by the housing and mortgage boom," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy.com, and an informal adviser to McCain's campaign. "It's almost a lost economic decade."
Well, if Zandi can't see the forest for the giant shitpile, he's just not trying hard enough.

The president's current aides say they are proud of their economic record. They note, for instance, that they attempted to rein in the growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the housing finance companies whose vast expansion they see as a central cause of the financial crisis. Independent analysts generally view them only as contributors to the crisis.

"It does look like a great eight years, aside from the last quarter, unfortunately," Edward P. Lazear, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, said in a recent interview. "In the long term, things look good. The reason things look good is this economy will rebound, and it will rebound strongly. ... We expect things to turn around, and I would say early in President Obama's administration."

Even excluding the 2008 recession, however, Bush presided over a weak period for the U.S. economy. For example, for the first seven years of the Bush administration, gross domestic product grew at a paltry 2.1 percent annual rate.
Lazear's comments tell us two things: Like any Kool Aid drinker, he doesn't let facts interfere with an opinion, of course, but also that the Bushies plan to take credit if and when Obama gets things headed in the right direction.

That economic record would be devastating to an administration that was trying to improve the financial situation of most Americans, or even gave a shit about the financial situation of most Americans. But BushCo's only operating principle was enriching the wealthy people who put them in power in the first place. And by that measure, they have been successful.

The richest 1 percent of Americans currently hold wealth worth $16.8 trillion, nearly $2 trillion more than the bottom 90 percent. A worker making $10 an hour would have to labor for more than 10,000 years to earn what one of the 400 richest Americans pocketed in 2005.
So the problem is that we're measuring this administration's performance by the wrong metric. They haven't improved the economy for most Americans because they weren't trying to improve the economy for most Americans. In fact, they couldn't care less about most Americans.

UPDATE: Meet the wealth gap here.

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