The Bush Presidency: An Analysis (Part V)

Total federal spending per household has risen 115% since 1965. The sharpest increase occurred during the Bush administration–11%. That comes to an average of $23,500 per household in 2007. Now, is President Bush to blame for all of this? Only in conjunction with Congress, which decided to go along with the spending spree. The saddest part of this to me is that Congress was controlled by the Republicans until the 2006 elections. They must share the blame.

And then, of course, the dam broke in September 2008, as we began to bail out the big banks and investment firms. Frankly, this is unprecedented in American history. The size and scope of this bailout dwarfs anything attempted earlier. Yet President Bush was swayed by the argument that the entire economy would collpase without this bailout.

I disagree with that assessment. Would there be massive problems without it? Yes. But there are going to be massive problems with it as well. Will we learn our lesson about the bad decisions that were made, both in government and on Wall Street? Not if we don’t have to face the consequences of our bad decisions.

When President Bush agreed to the bailout, he also bailed out on his free market premises. To me, this shows that his principles were not intact. He had a preference for free markets and economic liberty, but not a conviction that we should stay the course. Preferences and convictions are two different things.

And it is always the taxpayer who suffers.

If only President Bush had developed firmer foundational principles . . .