Can Blame be Perpetual?

After two years of the Obama administration blaming President Bush for its ills, I began to wonder how long that would, or could continue. To appearances it will last, at least, until Election Day. Nearly everyone has worked for a boss that blamed his failures on others; very few, in my experience, maintained any respect for that manner of management. Wonder if the President will continue to get away with it?

But, thankfully for President Bush, he’s not alone on the Blame Train: Wall Street, the rich, Europe, oil prices, Greece, Spain, trans fats; sugar, ATMs, airport kiosks and sun spots are also to blame. The President remains blameless after three and a half years according to Representative and key Democratic spokesman Chris Van Hollen. Mr. Van Hollen cleverly characterized the Bush economy as a tide that “lifted the yachts, but the rest of the boats ran aground”. Mr. V in the absence of President Bush to flog attacked the President’s brother during a Congressional hearing, implying that three and a half years of President Obama’s policies is not long enough and hard evidence of economic decline is to be ignored except when being blamed on President Bush.

We are left to surmise that another four years might just do the trick; another four years of trillion plus annual deficits leading to $20 trillion in debt, a Grecian style debt to GDP ratio and crony capitalism will somehow lead to economic growth and stability. We must ‘believe’ that Einstein’s definition of insanity should be put firmly put in place for another four years along with, we must assume, the weak kneed blaming of Bush.

There was little fervent criticism of Bush administration economic policy until the banking meltdown. Why was that, you may ask? President Bush set a number for discretionary spending and let Congress play with the details; a piece of the pie for everyone. Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, loved the idea, they had the ultimate cover for spending from the Oval Office. So long as they stayed at the number, all was well. It was also the case that as Mr. Bush took office the economy was in a minor recession and the dot com boom had just gone bust. We might also recall that the Clinton ‘surplus’ was very much supported by the rash of temporary dot com boom millionaires.

For six of Bush’s eight years the economy was not a critical issue as it responded to tax cuts. Overall GDP growth and employment conditions were healthy until the last six months of his term. For the last 2 years of his term Democrats controlled Congress, but that no doubt had nothing to do with it because as we all know by now; ‘Bush’s fault’!