The Bush Bust

More

I'm glad to see that a new PBS special takes its time to let people know just how responsible the Bush administration was in setting the scene for the current financial mess. It wasn't just the spending; it was the massive borrowing, and the culture of debt that the Bush administration fostered. The president, and vice-president, by scoffing at the notion that deficits matter, gave a signal to the entire country: borrow and buy. And so you get a graph like this:

Household

Note when the most recent lift-off occurs. Laura Conaway quotes David Beim:

"The problem is us. The problem is not the banks, greedy though they may be, overpaid though they may be. The problem is us... We've been living very high on the hog. Our living standard has been rising dramatically in the last 25 years. And we have been borrowing much of the money to make that prosperity happen."

Of course, the problem of private and public debt didn't start with Bush, and the recklessness of the mortgage companies and greed of many, many Americans are not all his fault. But his marked insouciance toward the question of debt - and his own fiscal irresponsibility - undoubtedly made things much worse. This graph, as Nate Silver notes, also shows how the housing bubble was the key to giving people the leverage to go even more out on a limb than they should have.

Debt

Household debt increased by 52% between 2001 and 2007. Americans began to treat their finances the way their president did the country's. This must be remembered, however hard the Republicans try to get us to forget it.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down