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Readers Debate the Bush Economy

Post reporters Neil Irwin and Dan Eggen have energized the anti-Bush administration crowd this morning with their analysis that the outgoing president "has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades."

An anti-Bush tone is heard in the clear majority of the several hundred comments filed at the hour this is written. Readers complain about the cost of wars, about tax cuts, about the housing mortgage crisis, about the consolidation of high incomes in the hands of very few, etc.

But the outgoing president also has his defenders, who note that the United States has not been attacked since 9/11 and who question whether President-elect Obama can do any better. They also launch a number of shells at the liberal WaPo for even reporting such a story.

We'll start with TheFrog1, who wrote, "We can agree, I think, that Mr. Bush didn't deliberately set out to create the mess we're in. What went wrong is that a philosophical conviction (that government is best which governs not at all) bumped up against evidence to the contrary (capitalism left unfettered by oversight cannibalizes itself)..."

LAWNMAN209 wrote, "'s just too easy to find Bush bashing articles in the Post these days. Come on guys, how about a bit of Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers? Can we attempt to have a little balance?..."

To which JohnAdams1 replied, "...In this article we are talking about economics of the Bush administration so the article is about economics and the Bush administration. If we wanted to talk religion then Rev Wright's name might come up. If we wanted to talk the 1960s and Ayers name might come up. rlax take your medication and come back in the morning"

And dailykos1 said, "...This is the perfect example of Republican philosophy. "We don't know anything about the economy, or science, or the Middle Class, or foreign policy and ... but hey, look at the scary black guy over there! What an elitist! Or was it terrorist?". Racism, ignorance and bigotry defines their entire party."

summicron1, noting that the economy expanded from 2003 to 2007, said, "...sure, but it was all smoke and mirrors -- the "boom" in growth was driven by a boom in GDP which was a reflection of the huge churn going on in the financial sector -- factor backwards for the bubble, the hot air, of all that churning, you get a zero, at best, or even a negative for the whole thing..."

vivifiant wrote, "...Bush's true "achievement" was to shift the wealth from the little guy, from the under class, to the top 5%. That is what he was elected for and that is what he did. A true achiever."

The article's headline reads "Economy Made Few Gains in Bush Years" and mike21 got 10 recommendations for writing, "Congrats on the biggest understatement Headline in newspaper history! Made few gains??!! How about the worst setback since the Great Depression?"

kurthunt said, "So can we finally put to rest the idiotic notion of supply-side-economics!?!? Or am I only dreaming?"

camasca wrote, "Well, the problem is that we are a consumer based society...The hard part is to get off the consumer treadmill. If Americans knew they could get to a doctor, get an education, and at least have some money when they are old, we're off to a great start for 2009."

dftpub said, "Typical WaPo one sided propoganda. We are at the bottom of a cycle that has very little to do with the current administration and conveniently the leftist WaPo sees a great Bush failure. What is not mentioned in this article is all the crisis that we have faced during the last 8 years. 9/11, accounting scandals,... an energy crisis, and a housing market bubble burst...."

And RazedByWolves wrote, "Presidents do not steer 12 trillion dollar economies. This theory will become more popular with the WaPo as things get far worse under the Obama administration."

But grant5 said, "Let's see, billions in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, billions in subsidies to oil companies, making it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, a multi-trillion-dollar war of choice...yeah, that's not their fault."

mrclemrn wrote, "The Bush obsession with tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens was and remains a disaster. And please don't forget the wizard of Wall St., Mr. Greenspan, who could have put the brakes on the administration's headlong road to financial perdition & instead gave it his Imprimatur. Thank God the bush plan to privatize SS was stopped in its tracks..."

themunz said, "It is not just GWB, every step of the way has been rock solid implementation of GOP policy. GWB and the GOP have been a disaster for America. Given their efforts so far during the past two months, their still think they are right and everyone else is wrong."

Sonja2 wrote, "Of course there hasn't been any economic gain; since when can economic gain happen when we're spending most our money to keep the men oversees from getting killed. And employment, maybe its the inability of the populace to keep their jobs or go looking for them."

And longlosthome said, "...For those of you who believe Bush kept us safe..., well , 1000's killed and wounded in Iraq ... for a war of these young people count ? Ain't life sweet when you got both eyes , arms and legs , when your brain hasn't been scrambled by an explosion?..."

Bushwhacked1 added, "For the .5% of this country who have 95% of the money it was a VERY good eight years - for everyone else it was a nightmare. Let Mr. Flight Suit return to under the rock in Texas from which he came while (once again) the Dems are let to clean up their mess. What a bunch of weasels."

rnesbit1 said, "The last two years of the Bush administration was a disaster. The rest of the world had the same problem. Obama election talk said he would create jobs and fix the mess. The number of jobs he will create is unknown. The liberal press has yet to ask him that question. How will he pay for these jobs?How long will it take fix the mess we are in according to him? The main question will liberal journalist ask these questions?"

And andrew23boyle predicted that "...Obama will have a very difficult, probably impossible, job in front of him if he thinks that he can keep US standards of living from falling as our own inflated labor market begin to equalize with the world labor market... The difference is that, if things are even worse four years from now, we'll be reading apologias exculpating Obama from responsibility instead of any kind of negative analysis."

amchitka7 said, "The Bush administration and the special interests.Destroyed the middle class. No one will go to jail."

But millerroberta wrote, "He did his best. No one could have predicted the world-wide economic downturn we are experiencing. During most of President Bush's term the value of the stock market went up, the value of the housing market went up, interest rates were low, inflation was low, and everyone got tax cuts. That doesn't sound like a bad economic record..."

We'll close with MNUSA, who wrote. "This isn't a surprise to middle class and working Americans...CEOs have amassed fortunes while their employees haven't received raises, are losing their jobs, homes and guaranteed pensions... Republicans in Congress provided no oversight whatsoever and are complicit in our economic disaster. Their sudden concern about deficit spending is laughable."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  January 12, 2009; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Bush , Economy Watch  | Tags: Bush, Economy Watch  
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But millerroberta wrote, "He did his best. No one could have predicted the world-wide economic downturn we are experiencing. During most of President Bush's term the value of the stock market went up, the value of the housing market went up, interest rates were low, inflation was low, and everyone got tax cuts. That doesn't sound like a bad economic record..."

You really must be kidding. The deficit and debt continued to rise as Bush asked for more tax cuts. He told us to shop to help support the war effort! And, no one WHO WAS NOT LOOKING could have predicted the world-wide economic downturn. This downturn is world-wide only due to how large a player the US is in world economics. This is an economic downturn made in the USA on Wall Street with the Bush Administration's hands off non-regulation mindset allowing it to happen.

When your police force decides to sit on its hands and does not do its job, they get the blame for crime even though we all know its the criminals that cause crime. Bush's policy of non-regulation directly lead to the financial crisis and history will record is as so.

Posted by: bevjims1 | January 12, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to you for READING all those comments and picking out a few. I like to read them too, I often learn something. But there are people who apparently cut and paste their own comment multiple times, taking up way too much space, and then there are those who get involved in spitting wars with each other or get completely off track. Thanks for the culling.

Posted by: dotellen | January 12, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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