Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz predicts a generations-long struggle to extricate our nation from the financial catastrophe of Bush the Lesser. He begins with this devastating opening salvo:
When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.
Stiglitz then observes that "Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle "worst president" when it comes to stewardship of the American economy."
He notes that Bush's "rising tide lifted all yachts," and offers a primer on the catastrophes of fiscal conservatism: lopsided tax cuts, mounting deficits, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and the credit crunch, rising bankruptcies, and the $2 trillion war in Iraq. He also provides the common-sense solutions: "not spending money that we don't have, increasing taxes on the rich, reducing corporate welfare, strengthening the safety net for the less well off, and making greater investment in education, technology, and infrastructure."
Stiglitz ends with this observation:
In short, there's a momentum here that will require a generation to reverse. Decades hence we should take stock, and revisit the conventional wisdom. Will Herbert Hoover still deserve his dubious mantle? I'm guessing that George W. Bush will have earned one more grim superlative.
This piece should be read by every yahoo who has ever claimed that the Bush II economy is "the strongest economy we have ever had."