Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush economic policy post-mortems

From today's Washington Post, here are Bush's very best economic reviews, coming as they do from people on the conservative / Republican side.

From former McCain economic adviser: Doug Holtz-Eakin:

"The expansion was a continuation of the way the U.S. has grown for too long, which was a consumer-led expansion that was heavily concentrated in housing ... There was very little of the kind of saving and export-led growth that would be more sustainable ... For a group that claims it wants to be judged by history, there is no evidence on the economic policy front that that was the view," Holtz-Eakin said. "It was all Band-Aids."

From Mark Zandi, also an informal McCain adviser:

"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. It's almost a lost economic decade."

From AEI's Kevin Hassett, who also advised the McCain campaign:

"On tax reform, I think they themselves were not very interested in it .... [T]he economy was caught up in a storm while he was president, but it wasn't his fault .... In the end, to the extent there ends up being a defense of the Bush presidency [on economic issues], that's about the best you can get."

Again, these are the relatively good reviews. The bad ones probably wouldn't be allowed in a family newspaper.

UPDATE: I should have noted that Ed Lazear, who is still working for Bush, was quoted in the Washington Post article as saying that the Administration's economic record was great except for the last quarter.

Uh, Ed - that reminds me of the guy who said about the plane that crashed after its engine failed 8,000 feet up in the air - "They were doing just great until the last second, when they hit the ground and blew up."

I once tangled with Lazear at a National Tax Association meeting, where he argued, I thought unpersuasively, that the Bush Administration's tax policy was both (a) highly progressive and (b) highly fiscally responsible. We'll let the historians sort that one out, but I don't think it will take them very long.

No comments: