Monday, September 14, 2009

The Bush Economic Disaster One Year Later

Perhaps it is a little unfair to George W. Bush to name it that, perhaps a more accurate term would be the Reagan/Bush Economic Disaster. Though the damage all came to a head this day one year ago, it was set in place by the bill of goods sold to the American People by smooth talking right wing pitch man Ronald Reagan in 1980. Reaganomics once refereed to as "voodoo economics" by George H. W. Bush was put in place that eventually lead to the disaster of last year.

The Republicans sold the American people on a concept that if you take away all regulations, all responsibility and all oversight, the market will protect us naturally. That if you make the rich wealthier, the benefits will trickle down to the rest of the nation. What happened instead is the rich did indeed get richer. Meanwhile the numbers of the poor increased, and the middle class shrunk. For the first time in our nations history average incomes went down yet the wealth of he nation was concentrated in fewer and fewer people's pockets. To further complete the redistribution of wealth, those who's greed and irresponsible behavior got rich, also were given tax breaks. The burden increased again on the poor and middle class.

Then came George W. Bush. Not only did he continue the Reaganomics policies but added to them. He passed laws to protect credit card companies from its own customers allowing them unfettered control over interest rates, fees and collections. The Bush Administration then took away the teeth of the bankruptcy protection laws making it harder for the middle class who came upon hard times to recover. Then the death blow, George W Bush and a Republican Congress for 6 out of his 8 years in office took our budget from a surplus to a 17 trillion deficit. Throwing away money on a war of choice, and more tax cuts for the wealthy again leaving 95% of Americans behind.

Jobs left, opportunity left, false wealth exploded, risk exploded, oversight and regulation was non existent. And as always happens sooner or later when irresponsible behavior rules it came time to pay the piper. So one year ago that was clearly evident to all with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

So what has happened in the year since. Well good news and bad news. George W. Bush is out of office and our new President Barack Obama, took quick and decisive action to stop the bleeding. Many banks were saved, The stock market had recovered 50% of its losses since last September. The amount of job loss has been reduced. An auto industry who's collapse would have cost millions more jobs was averted. Home sales are up, home values are up. Cash for Clunkers gave a huge shot in the arm to the auto industry. Finally the middle class got a tax cut.

But now the bad news. The lack of rules and oversight left over from the Reagan/Bush economic voodoo has not been corrected. Though we put some oil in the car to prevent the blowing of the engine at the last minute, we continue to drive and treat the engine the same way which will lead to another disaster sooner or later. No new regulations have been implemented, no major change in oversight, and the wealth is even more consolidated then before. In fact 3 of every $10 invested in banks or securities in this nation are held in one of 4 very large, very risky institutions.

President Obama has worked miracles to stop the bleeding, his successes have saved our nation's and the world's economy for now. But for long term growth and security we must fix the damage done by Reaganomics. With new laws, new restrictions, new limits and new oversight to once again force responsible behavior to protect our nation from unfettered greed.

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