From here. It was the Democrats who created this so there's obviously some bias in the figures (especially in what has NOT been quantified on this list, or what assumptions are made, like the 1.07 Euros per dollar figure which was a gross overvaluation at the time, or just basic changes over time like college tuition fees). Yet I'm convinced that it represents some very important information about how much America has changed since 2001.


BLBeamer said...

I'm not trying to defend G. W. Bush, but why does Congress not get the same treatment? Are they irrelevant?

Craig Schwarze said...

There are a few question marks over the numbers. For example, do the figures take into account inflation, or are they comparing 2007 dollars to 2001 dollars?

Also, the absolute "number of people" figures doesn't take into account the fact that the population has grown by about 20 million during that period. A "% Americans in poverty" would be more meaningful than just a raw number.

I'd also question how much control government has over things like the price of oil, the cost of insurance, the personal savings rate and consumer credit debt.

I also note that the democrats are comparing themselves using different periods. For example, they measure change in insurance level over 2 years, but jobs created over a period of 8 years. They have probably selected the periods that make them look best.

Having said all that, I would agree that the Bush economic report card is disappointing. I am not a neo-con, and the worst thing about neo-con is their "big government, big spending" economics. It is a betrayal of conservative ideology, to my mind.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

You're right Craig, some of the stuff is misleading. What I think is believable is:

* The international favourability polls.

* The Trade Deficit (which has doubled in number, but GDP has not doubled, which means that the deficit has increased as a proportion of GDP)

* Personal Savings Rate - no one can continue to have -0.5% of their income being saved (which means the average household in the US was living beyond its means during Bush's presidency)

* Change in Median Income - this is perhaps the most disastrous issue. Basically it means that the bottom 50% of wage earners are earning less than what they were in 2001. Moreover, that figure is NOT adjusted for inflation. Put simply, half of America has gotten poorer in real and numerical terms since 2001. Ouch.

These are the areas I have issues with:

* Americans in Poverty. While I believe that median income has fallen, these figures are always questionable because there needs to be a clear and concrete definition of what "poverty" is.

* Real GDP Growth. Yes Clinton's GDP growth was higher... but the question is whether such growth was sustainable. Increasingly I am seeing the late 1990s as a period where many imbalances occurred in the US. While Bush hasn't helped, I think post-911 GDP figures are low partly because of the late 90's unsustainability.

* Gas Prices. No, you can't blame Bush for high gas prices or thank Clinton for low ones. This is where Peak Oil comes in. Bush hasn't done a darn thing about Peak Oil... but neither did Clinton.

* Combat Readiness. What does this figure actually mean? Of course during Clinton's terms the military was at high readiness - that was because none of them were at war. Waging a war does affect the ability of the military to be prepared for one.

* Price of College / Health Premiums / Consumer Credit. I think much of this is affected by ordinary inflationary concerns.

Ron said...

I could NOT read the dark Blue chart heading - I assume at end of Clinton era - do we have same figures at end of Bush senior era or other comparisons - and right coloun is slightly truncated but I can understand

PS have you changed your page background? I'm seeing all white - not as nice.

I agree on Median income what a disaster.

Combat readiness - I can only guess is from some Military report to Congress - that means not ready if other places in Middle East need action. And is to me indicative of Bush - decisions on action but no push on the people doing it. if the surge is working as it appears to be then it needs to continue - has the military been organised to do it?

Mind you we listened to Obama SC victory speech and even Christine was disturbed by him. All talk of change (what change? and how?), very negative about the Washington system (that means Congress will have to toe the line? such talk has led to enabling legislation in the past) and all talk about the negative talk of his opponents (what was he doing then - his whole speech was about the problems others cause)

Ron said...

PS I thought Bush was really doing something about Peak Oil. What else was Iraq about? But he did not send enough troops to protect the pipe lines! Or to seize the arms dumps etc