Re "Quit blaming Bush," Opinion, Oct. 9
At the end of President George W. Bush's eight-year administration, our economy was in shambles. We were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, the banking system was failing and the automobile industry was collapsing.
President Obama was left with huge deficits thanks to the Bush tax cuts, two wars and a new Medicare drug benefit. Though conservatives say the Bush tax cuts boosted economic growth, the under-regulated banks were handing out billions in bad loans. This fed the economy.
The president is now requesting mild tax increases to pay for two wars. Republicans call this class warfare; in prior times it would have been called patriotism.
Jonah Goldberg would have us believe that a "consensus" exists that affordable housing goals tanked the economy and that Bush was just a helpless bystander, as if deregulation wasn't his policy. Bush's refusal to act, in the face of warnings of inevitable disaster, as the housing market went insane is undeniable fact.
Though there was plenty of bipartisan stupidity in Congress before 2008, Bush's tax cuts not only failed to produce economic growth, they weakened the nation and impeded a stimulus of the size needed to recover from a near-depression.
The Bush tax cuts had little to do with the financial crisis, but Congress was not acting to help poor people buy homes when in 1999 it revoked the banking rules that prevented traditional banks from entering the insurance and investment business.
No one forced lenders to make bad loans, credit agencies to overrate them and Wall Street to buy them and develop hedges against defaults. They knew what they were doing. There is no stupidity in the financial industry.
Banks once had an interest in having their loans paid back. But during the housing bubble, a bank could collect insurance on defaulting mortgage bonds ( called credit default swaps), with taxpayers paying for the bailout.
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