“The actions taken by my administration in response to the financial crisis have laid the groundwork for a return to economic growth and job creation, and they are beginning to show some early results,” President George W. Bush said in a letter to Congress that accompanied the annual Economic Report of the President.
Back in the 1980s cartoonist Garry Trudeau did a series of strips about the inside of Ronald Reagan’s brain. It was a spooky jungle of fused and drooping synapses, a no man's land of muddled thought. Sometimes I wonder what the George Bush brain would look like. A vast and empty desert of feel-good banality?
His administration is forecasting the U.S. economy to snap out of its slump in the second half of 2009. This prediction is most likely self-serving or cynical or both. Obviously, to preserve what he can of his tattered legacy, Bush would like us to believe we are poised for recovery. Then he can claim that his presidency took the body blow from the financial crisis, but he made the painful decisions that put this country on the right track.
Of course that’s -- not to mince words -- crap. Paulson and his minions have done little more than transfuse blood into an army of zombie banks. The zombies will be back for more blood after Bush is gone. The U.S. taxpayer will be asked to bare a vein once more.
What if Bush had spoken the truth in his quote? It might sound like this:
“The actions by my administration in response to the financial crisis were taken only after much foot dragging and were half-hearted; I realize what we did looks like corporate welfare of the worst kind, but that is only because we ideologically oppose government intervention in free markets even when those markets have hugely failed, in part because of a climate of regulatory indifference that I encouraged,” President George W. Bush said in a letter to Congress that accompanied the annual Economic Report of the President. “We decided a couple of months ago to tread water and not do anything radical to solve this crisis, preferring to leave an intractable mess for the incoming Democratic president so that when economic growth and job creation don't materialize, Obama and his advisers can be blamed."