Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Most Irresponsible President

The debate over the probably unconstitutional debt ceiling limit that no other country has ever had with almost no commentators in this country realizing this has made me think about some other matters tied to this that are also essentially unprecedented but that are rarely pointed out. I am thinking about the fact that George W. Bush did something that certainly no other US president has ever done and that as near as I can tell no other national leader in any nation in history has ever done. That is, to start major wars while cutting taxes at the same time. Numerous studies have made it clear that along with the recession the main reasons we went from budget surpluses under Clinton to massive deficits under Bush were this combination of starting wars and cutting taxes.

I suspect that he had a model, or thought he did, the late Ronald Reagan. Now it is true that Reagan supported increasing defense spending and cutting taxes, and did so, although he also supported some tax increases, particularly the whopping one for social security that largely offset his income tax cuts. One might argue that he had a war, the Cold War. But it was cold, and he had a habit of avoiding letting it get hot, including pulling troops out of Lebanon when they were attacked, something that led Osama bin Laden to view the US as weak, although he did invade Grenada, a one day affair. So, indeed, the image of Reagan, who was more politically popular than W's dad, the more fiscally responsible Bush Sr. who coined the term "voodoo economics" to describe the policies of Reagan, may well be what W and his followers and much of the media are thinking of. After all, Reagan is a divine being, and he sort of did it, so what is the fuss?


Post a Comment