Take Your Medicine
By: Mark W Adams

You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winning economist to understand the devastating effect the Bush/Cheney administration has had, and will continue to have on this country, but such laurals help to get your take published in Vanity Fair.

In four pages, Joseph E. Stiglitz succinctly catalogs what Shep and I (and most of liberal blogtopia) have been bitching about for the last four years. Bush will not only put Hoover's memory as a destroyer of the American Dream to shame, but it will take a generation to recover from the mess.

But what's worse, the tragic consequences of the reign of irresponsibility stands in contrast to what could have been, the opportunities squandered. Clinton handed Bush a booming economy with a budget surplus. The country united behind Bush in the days and weeks after 9/11 like few leaders have ever experience anywhere at any time. Instead of galvanizing in common cause, Bush told us to go shopping, and we did, on credit, just like the US Treasury.

God, what could have been...

It is natural to wonder, What would this money have bought if we had spent it on other things? U.S. aid to all of Africa has been hovering around $5 billion a year, the equivalent of less than two weeks of direct Iraq-war expenditures. The president made a big deal out of the financial problems facing Social Security, but the system could have been repaired for a century with what we have bled into the sands of Iraq. Had even a fraction of that $2 trillion been spent on investments in education and technology, or improving our infrastructure, the country would be in a far better position economically to meet the challenges it faces in the future, including threats from abroad. For a sliver of that $2 trillion we could have provided guaranteed access to higher education for all qualified Americans.
He points out that the economic transformation from the 90's to now is the biggest swing in fiscal policy and consequences since we went from the Depression to World War II -- but I would note that we're going in the reverse direction.

Stiglitz lays it all out so well, so completely, a mere excerpt cannot possibly do the article justice. It's a devastating synopsis to everything wrong with everything Bushenomics has wrought. I understand that economic talk makes a lot of folks eyes glaze over. Well that's just Tuff! Read It! All of it, especially if you ever contemplated giving Bush the benefit of the doubt.

Read it, it's good for you. Adult beverages are recommended, but not required. Doom is in the air, since the aptly named "Shitpile" (all that bad debt coming due that was sold as assets and not the crap it was) is about to make the biggest, smelliest "Splat!" ever. Knowing why we're about to go "thud!" won't stop the "hard landing" of the US economy as it absorbs record foreclosures and Bankruptcies next year. But it might keep our eye on the ball, fixing the problem instead of blaming (and arguing about) the wrong parties. This is and will always be Bush's fault, but it's all of our problem.

Despite the collective wisdom of Digby, Atrios and the usual suspects that the chattering Villagers may make a game of it and try to blame the next POTUS, it won't stick. Bush's miserable failings are so apparent, so obviously detrimental to the fabric of our society nobody who changes course from the current stupidity will be blamed for at least trying to fix things, even though we're undoubtedly in for some pain.

What's a shame is that any administration that is serious about fixing things, and not preoccupied with the Villagers or the sad fact that Every Year is an Election Year, they are probably doomed to be a one-termer -- because Digby is right in this (what a surprise). The Villagers will make the next President's job absolute hell, especially if he or she actually tries to do their job.