Monday, January 21, 2008

Seven years of the Bush economy

Yesterday marked seven years since George W. Bush took office. And one year from today someone else will take over and inherit a far different country than the one that President Bush took over on January 20, 2001.

In Biblical times (and more recently as apprenticeships) seven years was the standard period of servitude, and after seven years it was long enough to assess whether someone had done a good job or a poor one.

I could do a very broad post, touching on everything from war to crime and academic performance, but I will limit this post to looking at that most basic of issue, the economy (which ultimately is what everything else sooner or later rides on).

The fact of the matter is that today, on the seventh anniversay of President Bush's inauguration, the Bush record on the economy is just not good. Some years have been better or worse but let's just look at the whole.

Taking a look at some numbers:

On January 20, 2001 the Dow stood at 10,587.60, so where it is today represents an average yearly growth rate of just over 2%. In other words, the average boring, conservative bond fund outperformed the market average.

Or better yet, invest in foreign funds:

On January 20, 2001 it cost $0.9400 to buy one euro. Today it costs $ 1.4482 to buy one euro.

George W. Bush has presided over the creation of a net eight million jobs in seven years. Which means he will have to create twelve million more just this year just to catch up with his predecessor. Put another way, if the economy adds 200,000 jobs in a month that is now considered good news, while it was considered a mediocre month during the Clinton years.

On January 20, 2001 the spot price for a barrel of crude was $25.98. That has practically quadrupled in seven years. And it is with the deepest irony that one remembers the response during the 2000 election season to criticism that George Bush and Dick Cheney were both oil men was that some on the right suggested that oil men would understand the industry and know how to keep down energy prices for the rest of us.

The national debt has increased from $5.8 trillion to almost nine trillion dollars.

It is true that Bush has one more year to serve. But that is not very promising, with the most optimistic outlook for this year being only that we avoid a recession.

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