Cluebats Wanted

George Will wonders when Democrats will admit that George Bush’s economic policies — especially those tax cuts — are responsible for our sparkling, robust economy.

No, I’m not kidding.

Regarding the robust economy: If you ever want to catch up on the latest economic hiccups and twitches, I recommend The Bonddad Blog. This past week’s posts indicate the economy at the moment is so-so. Could be better, could be worse. Over the past several weeks job growth has been tepid, the markets have been up and down, some industries show some growth and some don’t. Consumer confidence is down, but we’re probably not heading into a recession at the moment.

And why not? As Bonddad explained a few days ago, “With a cheap dollar and the rest of the world’s growth picking up, the US may be able to export enough to keep growth barely positive for the next quarter or so.”

Yes, that’s so … not robust.

But in George Will world, the Bush Economy is a wonder to behold.

Early in George W. Bush’s presidency, liberal critics said: The economy is not growing. Which was true. He inherited the debris of the 1990s’ irrational exuberances. A brief (eight months) and mild (the mildest since World War II) recession began in March 2001, before any of his policies were implemented. It ended in November 2001.

In 2002, when his tax cuts kicked in and the economy began 65 months — so far — of uninterrupted growth, critics said: But it is a “jobless recovery.” When the unemployment rate steadily declined — today it is 4.5 percent; time was, 6 percent was considered full employment — critics said: Well, all right, the economy is growing and creating jobs and wealth, but the wealth is not being distributed in accordance with the laws of God or Nature or liberalism or something.

Yeah, those wage slaves working their asses off to prop up the value of Will’s portfolio should quit whining.

Will is certain the Democrats have “a problem” with George Bush’s economy, because it’s so wonderful they can’t possibly run against it.

How do you exclaim, as Hillary Clinton does, that today’s economy is “like going back to the era of the robber barons” and insist that the nation urgently needs substantial tax increases, in the face of these facts:

In the 102 quarters since Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts went into effect more than 25 years ago, there have been 96 quarters of growth. Since the Bush tax cuts and the current expansion began, the economy’s growth has averaged 3 percent per quarter, and more than 8 million jobs have been created. The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product is below the post-World War II average.

This miracle was brought to you by means of some “innovative” accountlng standards, which hide a big chunk of our growing national debt.

Twenty-three months after the next president is inaugurated, the Bush tax cuts expire. The winner of the 2008 election and her or his congressional allies will determine what is done about the fact that, unless action is taken, in 2011 the economy will be walloped.

Translation: The tax rates will go back to where they were in the late 1990s, a time that I don’t recall was all that awful, economy-wise. Although Will’s taxes will go up, I ‘spect.

Still, I’m touched that Will is so concerned about how the poor Democrats can run against Bush’s economy and expect to win elections in 2008. I just want to assure him that I believe they will manage, somehow.

Update: See also Ezra Klein and No More Mr. Nice Blog.