The Bush Boom

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THE BUSH BOOM….The Bush expansion is over, and Brad DeLong describes it as “the first business cycle during which median household income in America falls from peak to peak.” And indeed it is.

The closest we’ve come to such a dismal recovery in the postwar era was the dreaded stagflation-driven economic expansion of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. You remember Carter, don’t you? The president vilified by Republicans for decades as almost single-handedly responsible for destroying the American economy.

Poor Jimmy, of course, has gotten a bad rap: he may have had his problems, but he inherited stagflation from his Republican predecessor and, to his credit, eventually had the biggest hand in killing it by appointing Paul Volcker as chairman of the Fed. George Bush, by contrast, had only a mild recession to tackle when he took office. He inherited a fundamentally strong economy from his Democratic predecessor, immediately set out to manage it with supply-side nostrums that would make Gordon Gecko blush, and after eight years ended up with an economy that wasn’t even as good as poor old vilified Jimmy Carter managed in four.

And yet, somehow we’re still supposed to believe that Republicans know how to manage economic growth? Can someone please explain this to me?

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