Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Bush Economy’

George W. Bush’s economy was terrible. (ANDY CROSS - AP)

TheWashingtonPost

Posted by

at 09:09 AM ET, 05/01/2012

There’s not much in politics that allows me to say, “I’m old enough to remember when.” But here’s one: I’m old enough to remember when George W. Bush was president.

It was, after all, only four short years ago. And it didn’t go so well. The Bush economy is one of the worst on record. Median wages dropped. Poverty worsened. Inequality increased. Surpluses turned into deficits. Monthly job growth was weaker than it had been in any expansion since 1954. Economic growth was sluggish. And that’s before you count the financial crisis that unfurled on his watch. Add the collapse to the equation, and Bush’s record goes from “not so good” to “I can’t bear to look.”

Was all that his fault? Of course not. No economy is entirely under the president’s control. He didn’t create the tech bubble or 9/11. His responsibility for the financial crisis is, at best, partial. But Bush’s economic policies — including massive, deficit-financed tax cuts, and his reappointing of Alan Greenspan to lead the Federal Reserve — mattered. And, rightly or wrongly, the American people blame him for the aftermath. He left office one of the most unpopular presidents in U.S. history. And the anger has stuck: A recent YouGov poll found that 56 percent blame Bush “a great deal” or “a lot” for economic problems. Only 41 percent said the same about President Obama.

Given all that, you’d think Republicans would be running from anything or anyone who even vaguely reminded Americans of our 43rd president. In fact, the GOP seems eager to get the old gang back together.

Last week, when CNN asked House Speaker John Boehner whom Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, should choose as his vice presidential running mate, he named Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Daniels and Portman served as budget directors in the Bush White House. Perhaps more surprising, a variety of big-name Republicans have openly yearned for Jeb Bush to get the nod — and before that, to run for the nomination itself.

Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign staff is thick with Bush administration veterans. Two of his economic advisers — N. Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard — served as chief economists for Bush. His policy director, Lanhee Chen, worked on health policy in the Bush White House.

Some of this is unavoidable: Presidential administrations tend to suck up a political party’s best talent. The Obama White House, for instance, is full of Clinton veterans. But in the Obama White House, the Clinton veterans haven’t really acted like Clinton veterans.

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

200,000 Retail Stores to Close This Year

This Christmas season was like something right out of a fairy tale for some shoppers. Reported bargains were astounding. Unfortunately, for retailers with too many stores and not enough customers, this holiday season was horrible. Expect to see a flurry of bankruptcies in 2009. Associated Press reports:

The most dramatic pullback in consumer spending in decades could transform the retail landscape, as thousands of stores and whole malls close down. And analysts expect prolonged woes in the industry as the dramatic changes in shopping behavior could linger for another two or three years amid worries about the deteriorating economy and rising layoffs. …

A number of stores couldn’t even make it to Christmas. … The survival prospects for many more stores are dimming as more sales data come in about the crucial holiday shopping season ….

About 160,000 stores will have closed this year and 200,000 more could close next year, said Burt P. Flickinger iii, managing director of consulting firm Strategic Resource Group. That would be the industry’s biggest contraction in 35 years. Flickinger expects 2,000 to 3,000 malls to close in March and April.

AlixPartners, a turnaround consulting firm, predicts that 25.8 percent of 182 major retailers it tracks are facing major financial distress or will face a significant risk of filing for bankruptcy next year or in 2010—the highest level in the 10 years that the firm has been compiling the figures. That compares with the 4 percent to 7 percent that it predicted would face financial woes in the previous two years.

Bloomberg reported that despite steep discounts, U.S. retail store traffic fell during what may be “the worst holiday-shopping season in four decades.”

But retail outlets are just one industry facing cutbacks. A bankruptcy wave is on its way. 2009 could easily be the toughest job market in a generation.

Read Full Post »

White House, Congress hammer out auto bailout

The White House Tuesday demanded that Detroit automakers prove their “long-term viability” in return for a 15-billion-dollar rescue bailout but said a deal with Congress was in sight.

President George W. Bush’s administration is making “good progress” in its talks with congressional leaders over legislation to shore up General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

“We are still working through a number of issues, some of them just small and technical, and other ones a little bit more meaty in scope, but, all in all, making sure we’re headed in the right direction,” she said.

But Perino stressed: “Our insistence that long-term viability be reflected in the legislation is something that we have held very strong feelings about, and that has not changed.

“There will not be long-term financing if they cannot prove long-term viability.”

Short-term loans of 15 billion dollars are meant to sustain the car giants through March, allowing president-elect Barack Obama time to address their crisis after he takes office on January 20.

GM and Chrysler are first in line after warning they are fast running out of cash. Ford, though equally hampered by slumping sales, says it faces no immediate liquidity crisis but wants a nine-billion-dollar line of credit.

While the Democratic-led Congress was ready to extend a larger amount of aid, the Bush administration has balked at giving any more than 15 billion and insists — like Obama — that the automakers must retool for the long haul.

White House and congressional negotiators held talks late into Monday and the emerging total proposed is less than half of the 34 billion dollars the auto giants say they would need to stave off a “catastrophic collapse.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said late Tuesday morning: “I’m confident that those matters can be resolved within the next hour or so.”

But Perino said that “while we’re working fast, we want to get it right.”

“So I wouldn’t read into anything if we don’t get it all finalized today.”

The proposed legislation calls for a presidential appointee, or “car czar,” to oversee the overhaul of the Big Three US automakers, which have been losing ground for years to their Japanese rivals.

In return for the loans, the government would get an equity stake and the automakers would have to improve their fleets’ fuel-efficiency and also examine using their excess capacity to build bus and rail cars for public transit.

The bill also requires the automakers to sell their private jets and places strict limits on executive compensation, similar to a recent bailout for financial firms buffeted by the global credit crunch and toxic mortgage loans.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday Congress expects stakeholders in the industry — including bosses, union members, shareholders, car dealers and suppliers — to make sacrifices for the bailout.

“We call this the barbershop,” Pelosi said. “Everybody’s getting a haircut here, in terms of the conditions of the bill,” she said, adding: “The management itself has to take a big haircut on all of this.”

Obama has called a collapse of the auto industry “unacceptable,” and said Sunday he wanted a supervisory process that would hold the companies’ “feet to the fire.”

GM, which had warned it could run out of cash as early as January, urged swift passage of the bill and vowed it will “abide by the conditions proposed in the bill and will continue our restructuring with great urgency.”

Chrysler made similar noises while Ford, the second-biggest US automaker after GM, said: “Our industry is highly interdependent and a failure of one of our competitors could affect us all.”

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: