Bush’s Economics

Whether Bush believes, or even understands, the economic policies of his administration I have no idea, and it really doesn’t matter much. What’s important are the policies, not whether Bush understands what his handlers instruct him to say.

The current policies are an extreme version of what has been going on since the late Carter years. According to Congressional Budget office economists, real income of the bottom 90% of taxpayers fell by 7% from the mid-1970s through the Clinton boomlet (largely a bubble), while the income of the top .01% rose 600%. And mobility sharply declined as well. Bush’s policies are much more extreme, but one should have no illusions about what preceded. Robert Pollin’s recent Contours of Descent is one of several excellent and quite readable studies carrying the matter through the Clinton years.

Whether the economy can survive with such radical inequality, not to speak of the huge and growing double deficit, no one knows. But it’s surely a success for the planners and the very narrow interests of wealth and power they represent. And planning is not for the longer term, part of the lunacy of semi-market systems.

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