title: Obamanomics date: 2010-07-05
I see people beginning to blame Obama for the current economic downturn, and I wonder how much historic perspective those people have.
George H W Bush spent 4 years using a slip and clutch technique to try to get the economy to simply stop heading downhill. His success cannot be measured in economic growth, but rather in lack of economic shrinkage. He prevented America from failing in a truly dramatic way, and should be recognized as a great American leader for that success -- a success that cost him the presidency unfortunately.
Clinton took over with the economy no longer simply failing less quickly, but actually starting to succeed. He took that success, and he built on it. He turned welfare into work-fare, pushing more people into the worker pool than ever, while simultaneously helping businesses create more jobs for those new workers. America became recognized again as the world leader in hard work and production. He also built up the US military to unprecedented levels, having far more standing peacetime troops and equipment than any other president. He began the war on terrorism that has defined our military for the past 2 decades.
Then Clinton was termed out, and the American people rewarded Bush for the success they now realized he had allowed Clinton to bring, by electing his son. Bush Jr. spent 8 years alternately sitting on his thumb and sticking it in his ear, letting the well-oiled machine of American military and economics to run themselves without new filters or spark plugs. As is inevitable, there were breakdowns -- militarily in sept of 2001, economically in 2006. Bush responded in each case by running around like a chicken with his head cut off, getting a great deal of motion happening in no particular direction. Then he termed out, leaving two wars and a failing economy with incoherent policies to handle both -- "the Bush Doctrine."
Obama took over, running a slip-and-clutch triage at both ends, letting the economy fall in a controlled manner in order to stabilize, and slowing military action in order to hold ground rather than merely capture and then release it back to the terrorists. This is incredibly frustrating to watch, and it feels like he could be doing so much more to fix Bush's messes more quickly. I share the anger at the disaster all around us, and I too want to lash out at someone for allowing Bush to damage our country so much, but I think that that person is not Obama, it is ourselves.