Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Sequence of Stimuli

The official word this week from Vice President Biden is that the Bush Recession Depression was far worse than the doomsday rhetoric of the campaign and that the economy is likely to need a new stimulus to jolt it out of all the horrific mismanagement of the Bush Dark Ages.

I scratched my head. According to the structure of our Constitution, the Legislature holds the purse strings and consequently has a bigger impact on the economy than the presidency. So, I wonder why they don't call this the Pelosi/Reid Recession as it happened after their ascension into power.

Despite the sizeable effort on the part of the partisan press to associate the economic downturn on Bush, it is possible for a neutral third party to see the recession as a result of the transition of power.

Investors, after all, look ahead and not backward.

The 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections saw a massive leap to the left. Businesses and investors matched their strategy to the new economic landscape which means lower profits, higher taxes. Workers will become huge liabilities. So it is best to dump 'em.

I guess the thing that infuriates me most about a very calculated and concerted effort to blame Bush for all the world ills is that the speeches generally stop with the re-enforcement of a partisan theme without getting into details of why Bush, the father of all failures, failed.

At most we get vague platitudes about the failure of deregulation, or the failure of the free market. Democrats seethe with wealth envy and drizzle with accusations of greed.

We interrupt this post on the evils of greed for adulation of Michael Jackson. Now back to the partisan theme of deriding businesses for greed.

These moral platitudes kind of sit in the same bucket with all of the other such platitudes made throughout history.

The political blame game does not help us uncover causes.

I will outline a possible cause. The cause will even include an attack Bush to help make it palatable to the left.

Bush became the president in the midst of the dotcom bust.

Bush came up with a clever plan. He stimulated the economy with a tax cut.

The tax cut did not have a corresponding spending cut. That meant it was financed with deficit spending.

The wars were also stimuluses to the economy.

The same problem happens with spending based stimulus. When the government borrows and spends, then they must tax that money back at a later date. Failure to do so creates a recessive economic force. The out of control earmarks during the Bush Dark Ages were pretty justified as regional stimuli.

It is entirely possible that our primary economic problem is that government keeps trying to inject artificial stimuli into an economy that has become desensitized to economic stimulus but has developed a serious reaction to debt.

If this is the case, then doing another stimulus package is likely to do more harm to the economy than good.

But, Biden might be right. We are a poorly educated country and people might be fooled into responding possitively to another stimulus if the adminstration continues to frame economic issues as the fault of Bush.

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