Blogs > Cliopatria > Strength Abroad, Weakness at Home: The Bush Vision

Mar 17, 2005 2:00 pm

Strength Abroad, Weakness at Home: The Bush Vision

Like him or hate him, President Bush acts decisively--ok, often recklessly--abroad, giving the impression of "strength," whatever that really means.

But at home he is weakening the country.

Remember in the 1990s when Bob Rubin would say the "fundamentals" are strong? The fundamentals today are weak. And it's because of policies the administration has deliberately put in place.

I don't need to enumerate the ways in which the economy is weak; all know it. If a crash comes none will be able to say they are shocked. We understand the weaknesses even as we hope that somehow things will all work out.

The Fed is responsible for some of the weaknesses, namely, the housing bubble, which depends on the low interest rate policy Greenspan mainly pursued over the last 4 years. But Bush is responsible for the burgeoning trade and government deficits. And these spell weakness. His tax cuts, geared to the rich, weakened the economy and undermined government finances.

But this is just the beginning of the story. The end won't be written for some time. And the end could be economically catastrophic.

Suppose for a moment that we take seriously the government's claim that we will be hit at some point with another devastating terrorist attack (something I and most Americans take seriously). If a dirty bomb goes off in NYC we may be talking about an economic hit of a trillion dollars.

Given the state of the government’s finances could we handle it?

If President Bush took seriously his own warnings of an impending terrorist attack he would be doing everything possible to strengthen government finances so we are in a position down the road to weather it. That he is not doing this suggests either unseriousness of purpose, profound superficiality, brazen political cravenness in the face of the demands of his base, or some combination.

Shouldn't somebody be pointing this out?

Howard Dean--Hello?

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