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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Maureen Dowd, "He Is Heavy. He’s My Brother.": Jeb's Giant Goof

On Monday, Megyn Kelly asked Jeb Bush whether he would have invaded Iraq in 2003 "knowing what we know now." Jeb Bush responded in the affirmative, setting off a media firestorm and subsequent claims by Jeb that he misunderstood the question. In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "He Is Heavy. He’s My Brother.," Maureen Dowd seizes upon this controversy and goes for Jeb's jugular. Dowd writes:

"Jeb had barely finished insisting that he was his own man before he voluntarily shackled himself to W., putting several members of his brother’s war-torture-and-Katrina tarnished brain trust on his advisory list and telling a group of financiers in New York that W. was his top adviser on the Middle East!!

. . . .

And consider this: Jeb hasn’t even been asked any questions yet about W.’s dark contributions on waterboarding, the deficit and the near-total collapse of the American economy."

To set the record straight: I opposed the 2003 Iraq War, inasmuch as I anticipated that it would destroy the Sunni/Shiite equilibrium in the Middle East, i.e. without Saddam in Iraq, the mullahs in Iran would run amuck. Moreover, I will shed no tears if Jeb abandons the race for the Republican presidential nomination: Two Bushes in the White House was one too many. But blame George W. for "the deficit and the near-total collapse of the American economy"? I don't think so.

Dowd needs to be reminded that the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 by the Clinton administration set the stage for the Great Recession.

Moreover, as regards Obama's effect on the US deficit, Glenn Kessler wrote in a December 2014 Washington Post "Fact Checker essay entitled "Does Obama have the ‘worst’ record of any president on the national debt?":

"One alternative method looks at the dollar amount of the debt increase divided by the dollar amount of GDP at the end of each term. Obama’s numbers for the debt and GDP are only through Sept. 30, 2014, and thus should be considered a temporary figure, as an improving economy might boost the GDP and thus improve his ratio. At current trends, however, it is likely that Obama’s performance would be the worst among recent presidents, according to this calculation. (He would still trail Roosevelt and Wilson among presidents in the last hundred years.)

One alternative method looks at the dollar amount of the debt increase divided by the dollar amount of GDP at the end of each term.  Obama’s numbers for the debt and GDP are only through Sept. 30, 2014, and thus should be considered a temporary figure, as an improving economy might boost the GDP and thus improve his ratio. At current trends, however, it is likely that Obama’s performance would be the worst among recent presidents, according to this calculation. (He would still trail Roosevelt and Wilson among presidents in the last hundred years.)
Debt increase*    End-of-term GDP*    Percentage
Reagan             $1,873                    $8,850                     21%
GHW Bush        1,484                    $9,410                     16%
Clinton               1,268                  $12,680                     12%
GW Bush           4,899                  $14,580                     34%
Obama                7,198                   $16,160                     44%
(*in billions)"
Indeed, according to my calculations, Obama's present debt increase to current GDP amounts to some 43%.

Or stated otherwise, George W. Bush is not the only one to blame for the enormity of the deficit, which will ultimately lead to economic disaster - unless you believe in the tooth fairy or Paul Krugman.

1 comment:

  1. Most forget that the BillClinton 'budget surpluses' were solely due to breaking the Social Security lockbox and adding those planned FICA surpluses (surpluses needed for today's crisis) to the general revenue fund.

    fwiw, after Jeb's 'firestorm', Gov. Rick Perry announced his announcement date for the candidacy. But Jeb did his job - Romney backed off.


    In closing, when you have SecTreas all coming from New York, you probably get the mindset that has New York State buried in mountains of debt - just keep re-financing it as long as you can raise enough revenue to pay the interest even though that concept does NOT work indefinitely on the Federal debt.
    k

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