Bush deserves credit for our strong economy
The current media cycle, with its unrelenting ?Hate Bush? agenda, has blatantly ignored the substantial economic growth of the past few years. When Bush entered office, he inherited an economy regressing into recession caused by the dot-com collapse and the illogic of investing the ?peacetime? surplus back into government programs. Shortly after taking office, September 11 happened and dealt another fiscal uppercut on the economy.
Recently, after a decent post-9/11 recovery, the economy was dealt another blow. Alan Greenspan, in testimony given to the Joint Economic Committee, remarked, ?The economy suffered significant shocks in late summer and early autumn.? Greenspan is referring to the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, which brought unemployment and massive capital damage.
In addition, shutting down many oil refineries reduced refinement capacities and led to $3-per-gallon gas prices nationwide. The short term energy spike ate away at families? disposable incomes. Even with all these obstacles, the economy continued expansion. One can reasonably wonder how this economy is enjoying the longest sustained rate of expansion in 20 years.
Greenspan tells us that ?These events are likely to exert a drag on employment and production in the near term and to add to the upward pressures on the general price level. But the economic fundamentals remain firm, and the U.S. economy appears to retain important forward momentum.? Employment did suffer in the near term, yet rebounded. The Labor Department reported that the United States? economy added 56,000 jobs in October. In addition, the report revised job losses in September down from 35,000 to 8000. The jobless rate dropped as well, sliding from 5.1 percent down to 5.0 percent.
The Federal Reserve is slightly worried about inflation. However, the ?Wal-Mart economy? is keeping it down. Companies (as described by the right) or Evil Corporations (as described by the left) such as Wal-Mart keep economic efficiency high with rock-bottom prices and strong wage controls. Since inflation is a concern, the Federal Reserve ? for the 12th consecutive time ? raised interest rates, this time to 4 percent. Even with a rising rate environment, the economy plugs along.
The United States? economy grew by nearly 4 percent this past quarter. This is the 10th consecutive quarter with growth at or above 3 percent. For those of you keeping track at home, this is the longest period of extended economic expansion since the 1980s. All this positive news occurs, and Bush receives little credit.
This is the case because, as Bloomberg.com reports, ?In an Oct. 24?26 Gallup Organization poll, 71 percent said the economy was ?only fair? or ?poor,? and 66 percent said it was getting worse.? By the numbers this is not true in the least. However, the current media cycle has been effective in convincing people how ?awful? the economy is. In fact, brainwashing those still self-abusive enough to subject themselves to mainstream media has resulted in, as Bloomberg.com reports, ?the University of Michigan report[ing] that ... consumer confidence had dropped to the lowest level in 13 years.?
In the ?90s, when Clinton was in office, consumer confidence in an economy fueled by speculation and a squandering of the ?peacetime surplus? was always high. Clinton faced similar issues as Bush concerning allegations ? and in both cases some rightful ones ? of corruption within the administration. However, Clinton was a master politician. Concerned with only preserving his legacy, Clinton never responded to the attacks on the United States that occurred under his watch, and thus the United States did not enter into a war in Afghanistan or Iraq. This allowed his administration to focus its machine on demonizing special prosecutor Kenneth Starr and any other administration opponents.
Clinton, in fact, was able to persuade public opinion in a way Bush does not.
While much of Clinton?s presidency was smoke and mirrors, Bush?s problems are all very real. It seems that the President is missing out on a perfect political opportunity to benefit from the expansion of the economy. Considering the numerous issues surrounding Iraq and internally within the White House, it is quite astonishing that the President cannot stand firm on a strong economy.
Conservatives must maintain intellectual honesty. This is how conservatives lead by initiatives, thoughtful debate, and progress. That said, Republicans in Congress and President Bush have squandered a great opportunity to put the final nail in the Democratic coffin.
The economy?s expansion has been predicated on the Bush tax cuts. Tax cuts fuel growth. While Bush has had a difficult time controlling his spending, we would be significantly worse off, and the deficits would be significantly higher, if the tax cuts were not in place. There are still alarming trends in spending that need to be addressed. What is the economic medicine required in order to put money back into Americans? pockets? Cut Spending and Cut Taxes.
The recently reenergized conservative movement must continue to spur Republicans in Congress and President Bush. Congress and this White House have been awful, by any set of standards, at controlling spending. Even accepting the fact that defense spending is necessary, the growth of domestic programs is too large to ignore.
The United States? economy would really boom if the federal budget were cut by even a small percent. Trimming the budget is tantamount to a tax cut. Suddenly, the United States would find itself in a situation where each and every individual has more money in his pocket through tax cuts and spending reductions. At this point, Republicans would have moved back to their conservative roots, and subsequently their political fortunes would increase.