The Bush Economy
The Bush Administration culminated the Chicago School/Reaganomics era. How well did it work?
The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth.
It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism -- there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.
There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.
Adjusted for inflation, middle-income households made less at the end of the decade than at the beginning. Median incomes fell for the first time since records began to be kept, in the 1960s. Adjusted for inflation, the net worth of American households fell for the first time since records began to be kept in the 1950s.
As House Minority Leader John Boehner- the man who will be Speaker, should the Republicans regain the majority, bext year- said in October of 2006:
Today's announcement by President Bush confirms that the pro-growth economic policies put in place by Republicans are working as planned to spur economic growth and reduce the deficit. Republicans are meeting our commitments to American taxpayers by exercising fiscal restraint and promoting economic policies that create more jobs, all efforts which have produced a strong economy that is working to drive down and eventually eliminate our deficit.
President Bush was right about the budget and Capitol Hill Democrats were wrong. Not only has the deficit been cut by half well ahead of schedule, but we've made significant progress despite the tactics of obstruction from Democrats who are forever seeking to raise taxes and spend more taxpayer money.
Sounds like the basis for a new Contract On America.
Of course, CNBC hack Lawrence Kudlow, who was one of the architects and chief cheerleaders of the Republican economic paradigm told us in 1999 that the Dow would reach 50,000 by 2020.
This election cycle will be, once again, all about the economy. The more the Democrats isolate themselves from Republican policies, the easier it is to highlight the need for a paradigmatic change from those policies. Of course, it would be easier to make such a case if we were promoting policies that make such a case.