A Bush League Economy

It’s hard to believe how much damage Bush did to the US economy in 8 short years:

  1. Massive increases in federal spending on education
  2. Tax cuts without spending cuts.
  3. A huge increase in the welfare state (Medicare drug benefit.)
  4. A crackdown on immigration, especially high-skilled immigration.
  5. A 40% jump in the minimum wage, right before the Fed squashes NGDP.
  6. Massive increases in “defense” and “homeland security.”
  7. Extended unemployment benefits.

And here’s one I forgot about:

The travel industry today became the latest to slam federal rules and bureaucracy, charging that tough visa rules for potential tourists have robbed the nation of $600 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Two grim facts: More Chinese now visit France than the United States, in part because it’s hard to get a U.S. visitors visa. And while the U.S. used to be the destination for 17 percent of the world’s tourists in 2000, that’s dropped to 12.4 percent and shows no sign of changing.

“Even as world travel grew by more than 60 million travelers between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. share of the market remained essentially flat. During this ‘lost decade,’ our economy squandered an opportunity to gain $606 billion in total spending from 78 million additional visitors—enough to support 467,000 more jobs annually,” said a new report out this afternoon from the U.S. Travel Association.

And the policy fiascos continue under Obama, as evidence by news of the Keystone pipeline being killed today.  (Officially delayed until after the election, but that means it’s effectively dead.)  Remember when Clinton and the GOP Congress cooperated to deliver growth enhancing policies?  It seems like a lifetime ago.

I expect smaller English-speaking countries to continue gaining ground on the US.  They aren’t perfect, but they don’t continually shoot themselves in the foot.

About Scott Sumner 490 Articles

Affiliation: Bentley University

Scott Sumner has taught economics at Bentley University for the past 27 years.

He earned a BA in economics at Wisconsin and a PhD at University of Chicago.

Professor Sumner's current research topics include monetary policy targets and the Great Depression. His areas of interest are macroeconomics, monetary theory and policy, and history of economic thought.

Professor Sumner has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, and the Bulletin of Economic Research.

Visit: TheMoneyIllusion

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