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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bush Leaves Legacy of Economic Decline

I've stated elsewhere that the housing bubble caused the current economic mess. But new data from the Census Bureau shows that for most Americans, the economy was going sour before the housing market collapsed. According to data gathered beween 2005 and 2007, here's how the economy fared under President George W. Bush compared to where it stood in 2000:
  • 77% of cities and towns saw median income drop.
    • Nationally, median income dropped 4.3%.
  • 70% of cities and towns saw poverty increase.
    • Nationally, poverty increased from 12.4% to 13.3%.
  • 71% of cities and towns saw unemployment increase.
    • Nationally, unemployment increased from 4% to 6.6%.
  • 92% of cities and towns saw median home values increase—nationally, median home value went up 26% to $181K...
    • ...but all that got us, says economist David Wyss, was "a binge of living beyond our means.... We were financing our spending habits by treating houses like giant ATMs," which resulted, according to the AP article, in "an unsustainable housing market that ultimately fueled the current economic crisis." [see Stephen Ohlemacher, "Economy Bad All Over—Even Before Current Crisis," AP via Yahoo News, 2008.12.09.]
Heck of a job, Brownie. Following a performance like that, Obama could do nothing but chew his pretzels properly, and he'd still go down in history as a better President than Bush.

But Obama can't afford to take it easy in the White House, not when his predecessor is leaving him eight solid years of proven economic mismanagement.

1 comment:

  1. Hate to defend George, but up and down cycles are "natural" so don't know just what you can pin on him other than an unnecessary war and not regulating high risk loans. Today they talked of the huge purchase of T bills with no yield and the move to cash. People need to feel secure again before they invest, in stocks or back in their community. People are scared, and what strikes me is their willingness to admit it. jh


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