January 11th, 2009
06:51 AM GMT
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LONDON, England - What is it like being George W. Bush right now?  With Barack Obama's presidential inauguration just a few days away, how is the present occupant of the Oval Office spending his last few days in office?

The first seven years of the Bush administration witnessed strong economic gains.
The first seven years of the Bush administration witnessed strong economic gains.

Well, clearly there are the usual decisions to be taken, meetings to be held, visits to be made, people to be hosted and so on.  But it's my guess that there is a question that must echo ever more loudly in the mind of any outgoing president of the United States as he prepares to leave the White House: what will my legacy be?  And once Mr. Bush has packed his toothbrush and headed back to Texas, the minute-to-minute pressures of office will no longer distract him.  As he chews languidly on, say, a pretzel that question will no doubt pop unbidden into his mind.

History can be a fickle prism.  What journalists say today about George W. Bush's legacy may not be what the historians looking back from the 22nd century will see.  But for now it is clearly 9/11 and his response to it, above all the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, that will be held up as the defining issues of Mr. Bush's administration.

Millions of words will continue to be written about the rights and wrongs of his national security and foreign policy, which under the Constitution are the central concerns of the U.S. president.  But one of the pervading ironies of U.S. politics is the way that Americans ultimately vote for their president on the basis of economic achievement and promise.

So what of the Bush economic legacy? It certainly looks ugly.  On Friday last week we learned that the U.S. economy had shed 524,000 non-farm jobs in December 2008, bringing the total number of jobs lost in that lamentable year to 2.6 million. The day before, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office put out a forecast that the federal deficit would balloon from $455bn in fiscal 2008 to $1.2 trillion, or more than 8 percent of GDP, in fiscal 2009.  That's before you factor in the huge additional fiscal stimulus that Mr. Obama will announce soon after taking office.

Breathtaking, especially when you remember that under the Clinton administration the federal budget moved into surplus, and even stayed there for the fiscal year of Mr. Bush's first inauguration in 2001.

But that was the last year he balanced the federal budget; then came the big tax cuts that were his economic signature, plus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thought likely to cost Washington a couple of trillion dollars (some economists say much more) by 2017.  (To put that into perspective, $2 trillion represents seven weeks' worth of the entire U.S. national output.)

But back to January 2009 and the recession that George W. Bush is handing on to Barack Obama. What triggered that, of course, was the implosion of the U.S. housing market in 2007.  It has battered tens of millions of ordinary Americans, exposed the reckless lending of many banks, shredded the balance sheets of many a proud name on Wall Street, triggered a bewildering global financial turmoil and forced a Republican President to swallow free market principles and mount a $700 billion programme of government bailouts.  

From this vantage point, the Bush legacy could hardly look worse.  But no actor would be judged solely on his last major performance; no sporting hero would stand or fall on the basis of how well he played in the last season before his retirement.

The fact is, the first seven years of the Bush Administration were years of strong GDP growth: before 2008, the slowest rate at which the U.S. economy grew was 3.2 percent in 2001 (during a cyclical downturn) and the fastest was 6.6 percent in 2004, with 2005 and 2006 not far behind that blistering rate.

There were some other strong points - at least until the cataclysm of 2007 and the perfect storm of collapsing house prices, shrinking economies and rising commodity values.  Under the stewardship of Alan Greenspan, the Fed kept inflation in check.  The Dow soared some 34 percent in the first six Bush years, peaking at 14,164 in October 2007.  Under a light regulatory regime the financial sector burgeoned.  U.S. businesses and consumers alike reaped huge rewards from the rollout of new technologies.  The Internet came of age.  Cheap consumer goods from China boosted the feel-good factor.  Cell phones and iPods became must-have accessories for most Americans; well into 2007, they could have been forgiven for thinking they had never had it so well.

But then came that terrible cataclysm, the steady slide into recession, a near-40 percent decline on the Dow from that heady peak and the brutality of unemployment for more than 7 percent of the U.S. workforce.

So the years of plenty ended in misery - there'd been plenty too much plenty, it turned out.  America had partied, and partied too hard; the present hangover is proving the most painful since the one that afflicted our grandfathers four score years ago.

But is the U.S. president to blame?  Will history look kindly on him, saying it was the blind greed of bankers that led them to lend more than humble borrowers could ever afford, and so trigger the housing crash?  Will George W. Bush be seen as the victim of powerful global forces that not even the most powerful elected official on Earth could foresee, let alone resist?

What do you think?  Will we remember the many boom years or just the bust?  Once the U.S. economy recovers, will Mr. Bush's economic legacy be seen in a more positive light?

Bob Parker of Credit Suisse Asset Management discusses your views



soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. John Richards

    The Bush policy of unleashing unrestrained capitalism which ultimately led to greed induced recession is paralleled by the heroin addict who for the sake of a short term high succumbs to the destructive force of long term addiction.

    January 11, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  2. John Nivard

    What hap-pend:
    1-China, India and other developing countries are in a good shape, that is something very good.
    2-But it hap pend at the costs of the US, by plenty of money (credit and housing market).
    2-The companies in the US and the US Government let this happen, by moving the industry to the developing countries and by a uncontrolled way of creating money

    To blame is the US society and his representative Mr Bush, A service directed society is nice to have but you need people with money to serve

    January 11, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  3. Nathan - Maryland

    The "strong years" of 2004-2006 were artificially stimulated by the cheap money, easy credit environment that led directly to the housing bubble, excessive credit card debt, and now the collapse. The next three years will be take-back of those "gains". What is the net change in employment from 2001 – 2008? Practically zero!! Bush and the Republicans in congress were a disaster.

    January 11, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  4. Gary G.

    History will be more than Kind to Mr. Bush. At the end of his term, (no pun intended) Abraham Lincoln was viewed at the time as one of the most unpopular presidents of all time as well.

    It takes strength to do what is right, particularly in the face of people who would opt for the easy way out and the quick buck. (Clinton).

    It is particularly hard to look good doing the right thing, when you are successful, and for Bush, this means there were no attacks on the US from terrorist. NO successful attackes that is. There were attacks.

    History will show Bush was in a tough spot, and he stood his ground for the sake of the nation.

    January 11, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  5. Henk Griffin

    Basically, I, and just about everyone I know believe George Bush was the worst natural or un-natural disaster ever to hit the United States economically or otherwise. This was evident well before the financial crisis was known. 25+ years of Reaganomics was a financial drain on working Americans, especially the last eight high throttle years. What trickled down was far less than what trickled up.

    January 11, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  6. jmmx - Portland OR

    Of course the blame is on Bush. Who else was president? Who else ran the treasury and had a Republican congress for the first 6 years?

    First – the crisis is not ONLY due to the housing meltdown. The economy went up during many of his years for the same reason that personal wealth goes up if you go on a credit-card spree. You can buy more on borrowed money than you can without it. But eventually it catches up to you. So we would have survived the crisis better if we had not already wasted $1 trillion in Iraq.

    Then, while Clinton was responsible for some of the causes of this crisis, the major portion lies in the Republican obsession with deregulation, and their pandering to the financial interests. This, for example led to the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act.

    See the following for a really brilliant discussion of the whole process by
    Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, and professor at Columbia University.
    http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009/01/stiglitz200901?printable=true&currentPage=all

    Still, the overall responsibility lies with Pres. Bush as it was his regime that oversaw the last 8 years, and his appointees who were asleep at the wheel.

    The main reason for the depth of the crisis is not just in the collapse of the predictable housing bubble per se, but the collapse of the derivatives that were based upon these. These “financial weapons of mass destruction” are what has taken down the world economy.

    So I say yes – Bush IS unequivocally responsible for this disaster. And we will be very lucky if we can see the bottom of this 2 years from now.

    Finally – Would some journalist please tell us what the REAL unemployment rate is? Not the one by the new calculations that discounts "discouraged" workers. The we would see what dire straits we are really in.

    IMHO

    January 11, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  7. darkmax

    He will be remembered as the worst US president in history. The economic boom in the first 6 years of his administration was due, in large, to the opening up of the China market, something that previous administration had helped happened. Bush was merely reaping the fruits of the Clinton Administration.

    His wars were a huge failure, a cover-up of past errors and totally unnecessary intervention, even without the UN's consent.

    Excessive military actions cost the US money and lives. Lax internal economic policies led to the current economic situations, blame no one else.

    He IS absolutely the worst US president in history.

    January 11, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  8. bert merced

    i guess history wont be kind to mr bush. he will go down as one of the controversial person in this century...

    January 11, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  9. Ken Baldwin

    George W. Bush was a wartime president not by his own doing, but plunged into action or reaction by an act of brutal terrorism against this country. I believe the main job of our president is to protect this nation and it's people against such enemies. He has been able to keep our shores safe from such attacks since 9-11.

    As other presidents, Harry Truman was not a popular commander in chief in his day, but history is slowly giving him credit for making the tough decisions he had to make. It will take time and some distance to judge G.W. Bush's tems in office to gvie us a proper perspective in our history.

    January 11, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  10. S

    Bush was never ready for Prime Time. Of course I blame him and his Republican cohorts for the meltdown of the U. S. financial system. He was clueless when it came to the economy. He cared nothing of the people, only Corporations were important to him and giving those corporations Tax Cuts. This mess didn't happen overnight it took 8 years of lying about the economy, being just fine.
    You can't continue to suck from the top and not have the bottom fall out...trickle down, I don't think so, can you say trickle UP, well that is where all the money went...and yea the bottom has fallen out, and Yes, Thanks to Bush and his ILK! Bush/Cheney will be forever remembered as the Clowns who brought us onto the brink of a third world nation. We have yet to see what is to become of us.

    I live in the Southern part if U.S. where unemployment is getting higher everyday. Hopefully Obama will use his intelligence, something Bush/Cheney sorely lacked and find intelligent ways of getting us on the road to recovery. It won't be easy or quick but hopefully we, the common people, will see the light of day once more.
    The Banksters, Madoff's, Cheney (for other transgressions)and their Ilk need to be put behind bars for a long time. Every cent of their ill gotten gains need to be confiscated, as well.

    S

    January 11, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  11. mikemike

    dont be ridiculous, he was a blubbering idiot, a representation of the complete failure of the American econimic system, starting with putting idiots through our best universities

    January 11, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  12. francesco from the netherlands

    Don' t know historian in a couple of centuries from now, but to me the Bush administration has been a complete economic policy failure. Bush created gigantic holes in the US economy by financing (economically) useless wars. He softened oversight on companies to the point of asking if there was any left, with obvious consequences. He favoured the wealthy v. the poorer, polarizing wealth instead of distributing it. In this way he reduced the size of the economic base, ensuring that a large amount of people continue to live paycheck to paycheck. He did not act to avoid the creation of the economic bubble, based on absurd consumption levels. By the way, the housing burst is in my opinion a consequence, not a cause. Americans simply spent more than what they could afford for too long – is the level of debt that eventually burst, the house market collapsed because of that...
    Besides all opinions, let us look at the results of eight years of Bush. Those are facts. It is also a fact that the crisis is born in the USA, with Bush at the helm.
    My score: worst president of the USA, and thank you very much for all the mess you created, Mr. Bush.

    January 11, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  13. Bill in China

    I think it is fair to compare the Bush Administration to the Bernard Madoff ponsi scheme. I really do not see much difference.

    January 11, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  14. Tim

    Bush will be remembered for his arrogance and unwilling to see the facts. His war in Iraq destroyed any progress made in Afganistan. We now face extreme resistance throughout the Muslim world .Why should they believe anything America says? The war's , Iraq, cost made it impossible for America to deal with an economic down turn. Everything Bush promised the American people never happened: less govt. and low taxes. It will take ten years, at least ,to recover from the mis- goverment of Bush's presidential terms.

    January 11, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  15. Hoop

    Bush's legacy will be right alongside the likes of Herbert Hoover. From the Fools Mission in Iraq to America's shame in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the complete destruction of the economy, the word incompetent shines brightly.
    Unquestionably, the worst president ever.

    January 11, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  16. Manuel Espi

    We have to look beyond the news headlines and think for ourselves. What would have been the scenario if we as a nation didn't have a presence in the Middle East (Iraq)? How that presence has help us maintain a better control of oil supply? What if we didn't get tough on the international arena? This is not a popularity contest! We as a nation have to look for our interests, as we have always done. It's easy to sit down a home, have food, things to enjoy and security, without thinking about the costs to achieve or maintain them. Bush will become one of the best presidents of the US, not because we like him, but because he made the tough decisions when it really mattered. I'm sure that when Obama takes office and they show him the books, he's going to say: "I see now", although I think it happened already.

    January 11, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  17. John F Beckwith

    A very fundamental cause of our economic implosion is the absurd notion that we can export our hard jobs like manufacturing or farm work, either by importing finished products or illegal slave labor, and convert our economy to a "service economy" producing nothing to send back to China and the other nations who now do the work. This is the sort of fuzzy thinking that academics develop because they never get a chance to experience the "real world". Notice how many of the disgraced political and financial "leaders" going back to McNamara went to Harvard or Yale. In fact we have had a presidency whose occupant since 1988 was indoctrinated by the Yale faculty into the hallucination that "One World" is a desirable goal. Make it a requirement for President that one must first start a successful manufacturing business and these looney ideas and their horrible consequences will go away.

    January 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  18. SOUL

    Things have taken a tragic turn these last few years. people really need someone to blame, a sort of therapy I suppose, and unfortunatly Bush was at the wrong place at the wrong moment

    There is no doubt Bush has played an important role on this economic meltdown, but that's only the tip of the Iceberg

    January 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  19. MHK

    George W. Bush's economic policies had absolutely nothing to do with the economic collapse. There are many factors that caused is not one of which was government policy. The collapse was caused by greed, both on the part of the lenders and the borrowers. The borrowers were content to live beyond their means, purchasing things that they really couldn't afford with borrowed money. The lenders encouraged people getting in over their head. Bush's economic policies did keep the recession following 9/11 and the Enron fiasco from turning into a depression, and actually strengthened the US economy.

    January 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Janus Lee

    From Copenhagen, Denmark

    Could the collapse of the economy not have stemmed from the fact that under Greenspan the federal interest rate was too low for too long and under Bernanke the interest rate was increased to fast? Should it not be obvious that if you triple the federal interest rate within a period of 15 months, people, companies and banks will get behind in their loan payments?

    January 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  21. ALEX

    its easy to wave him goodbye with one fingure...but i feel his legacy is quite complex..

    he is to be credited for the action taken aginst terrosism, what ever might be its reprucussions.he tried to uproot it, in his own hakwish way.......
    he might be called a war manic, but was there a better way to deal with the taliban or al queada?

    what followed also falls on his shoulders, he was in great position to resolve the middle east conflict after 9/11 and afghanistan. in fact he should have acted on resolving that issue insted of iraq. but his administration was clearly biased to isreal..............

    in the end he was like a pill who tried to remove the disease of terrorism, but had bad side effects aswell....

    January 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  22. Bush legacy will be good if...

    If the economic and terrorist situation get worst, the Bush legacy will be remembered as good. Writing from Mexico.

    January 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  23. James Smith

    George W. Bush is not only the worst president in US history, he is also the most disliked person in human history.

    His contempt for the American constitution ("It's just a goddamn piece of paper") his ignorance of politics, economics, and basic science have made the USA a second-tier country interms of manufacturing, science, medicine, and economic stability.

    Had the US congress any testicular fortitude and a sense of decency, he would have been impeached and be serving a life prison sentence. Instead, politics took place over professionalism and this disgrace to America is leaving office, if not with honor, at least with his freedom.

    January 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  24. MB Shaw

    Grade ( F- ) on "W" & the entire BUSH Administration including the ring leader D. Cheney

    January 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  25. John Hall

    The Iraq war, torture, Hurricane Katrina response, lack of Environmental awareness , the drop in US world standing, and the 08-09 recession are just a few of the basket full of memories and messes George W Bush will leave us when he departs Washington. It is clear at this point, that over the last eight years Bush inspired nobody, uplifted none and pissed off the masses around the planet. January 20th will not come soon enough!

    January 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  26. Ed

    There is a hidden government in the U.S., centred out of the privately held Fed. That hidden company is mainly controlled by families connected with banking interests. In the U.S., the chief banking families who control the system are affiliated with the Rockefellers and the Morgans. The Bush family is part of the Morgan "clan." This oligarchy, the real government of the U.S., is not only to blame for the problems of the U.S., but to blame for most of the major problems of our time.

    Most people will react to what I say above by seeing the statement as a conspiracy theory. Nothing is further from the truth. The government you see is not the real government.

    January 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  27. Ariben L. Ablang

    From Philippines

    Well, I believe we should consider the boom and bust years. My opinion, President Bush's economic legacy will be seen as positive in the near future because his economic legacy will be a basis for new economic outlook for the next administration.

    Having challenges like finding renewable sources of energy, climate change and most importantly the restart, yes i say again, restart of strong US economy.... Maybe, after a few years, Americans and the rest of the world would say "Without Bush economic policies, we are not here today."

    This is fact: All Presidents wanted to see their economic policies successful. Having said that, not all of them are lucky.

    January 11, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  28. Emma Ramos

    I think because of Pres. Bush's leadership style, people will blame him for all the bad things that happened, from the recession to the wars, to the excesses and abuses of corporate executives. How can we forget the lives lost in the wars, the savings lost in our 401ks, the abuses inflicted on prisoners of war, the untruths that were perpetrated to justify the war in Iraq, etc.etc...Our leaders should be put to a higher standard, their integrity beyond reproach.

    January 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  29. Ayla

    The Captain of the Ship is always responsible for the crew. The person in the head position of responsibility is responsible for their actions (or lack of) and accountable to those that are affected by their decisions. It's as simple as that, no excuses.

    President Bush was handed an economic SURPLUS and had 8 years to improve the quality of life in the U.S. He mismanaged a war, he mismanaged his cabinet, he mismanaged the economy; instead he brought in an "all is well" party atmosphere and denied the realities of the war, denied his mistakes and denied his poor judgement. ....Hmm, from someone who knew how to "party" himself, from someone who bankrupted his own companies, it's really not THAT much of a surprise, is it?

    January 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  30. Ed Stewart

    While I am by no means a fan of W, it is absurd to conclude now that he alone should be stamped as the responsible agent in this debacle. True, the buck should always stop with the President because he is most responsible for those persons he chose to oversee the effected financial activities of the Country. However, if even most of the so called financial wizards in world were caught by surprise, then he should certainly not be branded with this stigma. I believe that history will demonstrate this conclusion.

    January 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  31. David Pollan

    The US president has acess to the best, most reliable information to aid him/her in making decisions for the well-being of the country. Bush distinguished himself most in his utter lack of intellectual curiosity in making decisions. His decision-making process largely entailed only seeking out input from those who didn't disagree with him, whether it was to go to war in iraq or to pursue or ignore matters pertaining to the economy..

    The economic meltdown was a non-negotiable fault of the american people who failed to exercise their own due diligence when they voted for him twice.

    We consider too much how much we "like" our candidates or whether they hunt or have strong "family values" rather than how smart they are to have our vote.

    The fault of medoff's investors in failing to see through his smoke and mirrors is as clear as our own fault in giving the keys to bush (and the world) for 8 years.

    Obama is a humble and intellectually curious man. I pray he can help dig us out from the effects of the mistakes bush and the american people share blame.

    January 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  32. rUSTY

    Comrade has scrwed up the whole world... War on this , that and for everything... wish some nation could hit them now which will turn them into a devoloping naTION

    January 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  33. Peter (Austria)

    Bush, probably, unbeknown to him and his advisers (do not forget them) at the time, has opened a lot of old wounds that we tried to cover up in the past. If Obama does not fall in the trap of another "diplomatic" cover up we may have a real chance of moving ahead on a global scale. This would be helpful because slowly WE are running out of time.

    January 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  34. Otto

    He botched the Iraqi operation and he slept at he switch on economy. What a legacy!

    January 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  35. westover doug

    Quite simply, he has been the worst president in living memory: complete lack of all necessary presidential skills (no economic understanding, no ability in international diplomacy, no negotiating skills, and most importantly, no leadship skills of any kind).

    The total cost of his time in office will not be measured by numbers after a dollar sign, but by the ruined internation goodwill and reputation of America, the shattered lives of families and individuals decimated by his economic policies, and the untold hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to his mis-directed international escapades in the name of the war on terror.

    It has been a sad, sad chapter in the formerly proud history of a great nation.

    January 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  36. Tuggey

    The administration has continually worked to allow bankers, insurance companies, credit card companies, drug companies and energy companies (see Enron)run the economy and set the agenda and policy of the country. The administration appointed partisans to head all the agencies, (SEC, DEC, FEMA, etc) with the specific intent of NOT overseeing activities of those who they are supposed to watch. They were not content to 'sack the treasury' which was one of their goals, in order to eliminate any 'socialist' programs, social security, medicare, even public education. Then they, with Mr Bernanke and Paulson 's schemes, sacked all of our retirement and savings as well. I find it curious that even now, the news media play all of this as 'unforseen' , and 'accident' that oversight was lacking. All of this is a matter of 'policy' dreamed up by Cheney, and the neo-CON's. They 'privatized' war so Haliburton et.al. reap billions of dollars in profit, while the US military bears the brunt of casualties. They sold all the infrastructure of Iraq to 'privatize' construction, communication, health and the whole internal workings of Iraq, so a small cadre of friends could reap huge profits, again, at the expense of young men and women of the military. They lied about Iraq, they lied about energy, they lied about global climate change, they lie about the 'intent' of the 'rescue packages that they provide to their frineds in wall street. How much does My Paulson care about us, he stashed away something like $500 million, using the same schemes as the bankers and brokers, who are his friends and colleagues; and wants to make sure they reap as much as they can before Mr Obama begins to change things. It seems that one of the underpinning things that allowed this to happen is the notion that 'investing' for retirement is tax deferred, but what that has become is a means for the literally thousands of 'investors' to reap hundreds of millions in bonuses, using our money. All of this is well documented, but obfuscatated by the scores of talking heads, who basically do the bidding of the 'players' behind the scenes.

    January 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  37. Meggen Ryan

    If Bush is to be credited for the great party and all of its wonderful growth and peak DowJones, then he is to be credited for the hangover as well. Major deregulation of Wall Street and banking oversights are a direct result of the Bush administration. Perhaps many of the housing foreclosures could have been prevented if cost of
    food and transportation had not drastically increased due directly to Bush's Iraq war and the subsequent speculation in oil commodities.

    GW Bush is responsible for our global financial mess. He is too arrogant to recognize that his eight years in office have miserably affected those who didn't even go to the party, but are now paying for the hangover with lost jobs and foreclosures.

    I can't imagine how his legacy will ever be seen as positive.

    Montana, USA

    January 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  38. WENDELL D. LANE

    It is my understanding that President Bush promoted and encouraged the financial institutions (particularly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to make real estate loans to borrowers with questionable ability to make the requisite loan payments. Since by most accounts that I have heard, the international financial crisis had its roots in the banking crisis caused by the borrower's inability to repay the loans, it would appear to me that President Bush is directly responsible for the global financial crisis. Now when you combine that with his other generally agreed upon foreign policy failures, he seems to merit the title of "Worst Erver" American President. I believe that history will confirm this.

    January 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  39. P. Brison (Belgium)

    The U.S. and their citizens have foolishly supercharged their credit cards (deficit...), while boosting China's (and others) economy. Credible oversight was so lax that hordes of greedy hot-air-sellers (then called geniuses !) or downright crooks rushed through the cracks. Mr Bush introduced tax-cuts which benefited many of these same people, adding insult to injury. Sounds too much like "crime pays". Nevertheless, all this will likely be soon forgoten. In my opinion, what will puzzle historians most for decades to come in his economic legacy, is his decision to cut taxes while launching an open-ended "global war on terror", whatever this may mean. We've never seen cutting taxes in the middle of a war, and probably never will anymore... Didn't help much, did it ?

    January 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  40. Demis Cunha

    As ever, Bush will be remembered like the man who almost crashed the U.S economy. Worst news are easier to be remember.

    But the fact is that Bush did everything wrong regarding the wars. The Afghanistan war of course he had the right to do it, but the Iraq war was a stupid thing. Bush lost his credibility when was discovered that the reports about chemical weapons were not true. Spent much money in a war that was not to Americans.

    January 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  41. Peter Alexander

    Yes, the President and his father & entourage (Cheney/Jim Baker) are to blame for the state of the economy. Things would have been different under Al Gore.
    George Bush should never have been President in the first place. He is a good football coach but not a natural leader such as Reagan, Clinton & Obama. I blame his father (which I found a good President) that he has supported him to reach his incompetence level as described in the 'Peter Principle'. He should have known better what his son could and could not do. Definitely not guiding the economic policies of a country (leader of the free world). All painful and embarrassing to see for Europeans.

    January 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  42. Drusila Morikone,

    I am an American citizen working and living in Nepal, and I am sorry I just couldn't vote for McCain this past election.

    I have felt so bad in seeing how the election played out. The media did not do a fair job in reporting on all the positive, i.e. above article, work of the Bush Administration. All the garbage came out and nothing positive was reported, which I thought was a dirty-rotten shame. None of the negatives of the Democrats came out and again, all the garbage of the Republicans came out. It was certainly biased reporting for the democrats on the part of CNN and others.

    Americans were led to think that the Bush Administration was negligent and irresponsible, forgetting the fist 7 years of positives. McCain, a true American soldier who fought for America was belittled because of his age and his ideals, just because he was perceived solely as a Republican and identified with George W. Bush. His ideals, his experience, his loyalty and his selection of an excellent running mate were ridiculed and criticized.

    What people don't understand is that the world is experiencing a most difficult time in its history and the history of its people. The time will come, and I dare say has already arrived when no one, and I repeat, no one, will be able to do anything about world events. We are heading into more difficult times in the future. This world as we know it will soon pass away. God has promised to do away with all evil in this world and the time is near when he will do this. Jesus will come from heaven to this planet to take His obedient children home. After that, He will create a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain–no more sin!

    In any case, I think President Bush did his best and did well. He was not a perfect president but who has been! I believe he tried his best to protect America and Americans from terrorism.

    May God bless America!

    January 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  43. Quy

    "But it’s my guess that there is a question that must echo ever more loudly in the mind of any outgoing president of the United States as he prepares to leave the White House: what will my legacy be?"

    This may be applied for most (not "any") outgoing presidents. But GWB is a special case. If he does not care (or know) about history of the past (other than what he understands from the Bible), why should he care about "legacy"? Less even he knows (and cares) about "economy".

    "Legacy" and "economy" are above what GWB can understand. "Legacy economy" is a few levels above that.

    Quy from Sydney.

    January 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  44. Tim- Germany

    Bush will be remembered for the boom that 10% of the wealthy did truly experience. Then there was the next 15% of Americans that thought they would get on the train to good times. The rest of us were just getting by. The recovery will be a long long one. Those people needing to retire now will not recover. If you can wait 10 years to retire you might be okay. The war in Afganistan did not do what the Bush presidentcy said it would do. There is an elected govt., but the economy in that country was what had to be developed and Bush ignored it. The war in Iraq was a mistake and it 's cost has hurt our security and abililty to deal with the present economic chaos. Thank you, George Bush

    January 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  45. tom

    Bush is the worst president ever. This former alcoholic turned religious cowboy mismanaged 2 wars, he mishandeled the information that could have prevented 9/11, he mismanaged the economy and he devaluated the brand USA in the world.

    Ofcourse his religious fans will say he's Christ on earth and that he was not to blame, but if a Commander in Chief cannot take responsibility, then who can (perhaps blame Joe Sixpack)? His presidency was stolen and the price for this theft was paid by all Americans who now face the worst economic downturn since the thirties.

    January 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  46. Dave Horne

    His economic legacy would have been considerable better if he hadn't gotten us (I'm a US citizen) into the Iraq mess. That war costs us $10,000,000,000 per month. Do the math.

    January 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  47. peter thom

    As an agnostic on 'great man' theories of history, I believe Bush's role in the crash of 2008 wil be seen as both victim and victimizer. He was victimized by the laisser faire model of markets taught him at Business school and believed until recently by the great Solon, Mr. Greenspan. Bush, like Greenspan, was a fervent disciple of the quasi-religious belief in untrammeled free markets. That this model devolved into the gangster capitalism of Madoff and the naive capitalism of 30/1 leverage built atop the rickity subprime mortgage market was not Bush's doing. However, Bush can surely be faulted for not heeding the lessons from the collapse of Enron, including the bilking of billions of dollars from California directly attributable to deregulation of the gas pipeline markets. That his SEC appointees did nothing to prevent this headlong devolution toward the two prongs of gangster and naive capitalism will be seen as Bush's fault.

    January 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  48. William Jenkins

    The fault with the implosion of the US economy falls squarely on the shoulders of Allan Greenspan,Chairman of the Federal Reserve, not President G. W. Bush. Mr Greenspan was given free reign by members of both parties, and was aware for several years of festering problems in the US housing market, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the US banking industry yet did virtually nothing to reign in these entitities. By his own admission he "seriously misjudged" the issues. Never in the history of the Republic have we been so badly mis-led by one so universally supported and admired.

    January 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  49. Tomaz

    I'd say it was partially fault of mr.Bush for being too easy on the bankers. However, the banks are a private business venture and ultimately bear a lions' share of the guilt.

    I would imagine that in the next 5-10 years, Bush will be remembered as the worst thing ever to happen to America. Beyond that, it is entirely possible that the emotional tide will subside and people will sober up: up until the perfect story of higher food prices, high oil prices, weakness in international economies, and more, US economy was outperforming that of other developed countries.

    Bush blaming probably played a part in the current downturn – it turned a blind eye to other factors that led to the current situation. Bush did not create this crisis ... he certainly didn't prevent it, though the extent of his ability to do so can be only speculated.

    January 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  50. marco monroy

    All previous endeavors Mr Bush has taken since he graduated from higher education had ended in failure and some in bankruptcies. Why are we surprise the trend has continued?

    January 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  51. James Simpson

    Bush and his GOP Congress destroyed the United States. They governed through a false belief system that proved in real life to be a set of ideals based on no facts and only dreams.

    January 11, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  52. Svend Rom

    Once smart politicians started letting huge pension and savings funds invest in a growing amount of US government bonds, the slippery road to bankruptcy had been constructed.

    Enormous deductions from savings and profits could now be channelled into federal government expenditure. The expectations of the people to a more and more prosperous and earlier and earlier retirement could now be raised.

    The funds also invested in shares that to begin with would pay a return of 4-6 % but soon would increase in value so that the return fell below 1 %. But the funds reported the stock exchange values and felt rich. But once this scheme lost credit, the clever began to sell out.. Good bye...

    January 11, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  53. Maryam Siddique

    I am a British Pakistani Muslim and I believe that if George Bush had 7 successful economic years, and then failed in the last year then he did it deliberately.

    George Bush is a cancerian so he may appear ruthless but in fact he is nurturing. In terms of his socia/psychological agenda:-

    1) He has managed to win the hearts and minds of world leaders on terrorism. From denial they have moved to acceptance and now everyone sees terrorism as a menace. There is no use in being rich if you are surrounded with enemies.

    2) He has managed to win back America's sincere friends which were lost cos Mr Clinton was too busy with Monica; e.g. Pakistan and UAE and both these countries will create a network of useful friends for America. He understands the changing global economic trends and the increasing Arab and developing world's stake in global economy.

    3) He deliberately gave over-confident Americans a good kick up their back and now Americans. The economic fear he created in his last year will lead Americans to work extra hard.

    4) He used recession to buy funds/assets for American govt. which means that American people once again have a big stake in their economy which gives them more control. This is the cleverest form of nationalistaion ever seen.

    5) America's focus on sustainability increased during George Bush' era which will reduce America's spend on non-renewable energy imports as well as create economic opportunities for American green friendly technologies.

    American people are stupid but George Bush definitely isn't. He always put America's interest before his reputation, and he made unpopular decisions in the best interest of America.

    George Bush is the father whom you hate growing up because of his strict descipline. But as you grow you realise that his strict policies made you a better person. Maybe one day Americans will look back and appreciate George Bush who always put America's interest first rather than his political interest.

    God bless America so America may bless Pakistan inshAllah amen.

    Maryam Siddique
    Chairperson Tehreek-e-Awam & the e-Prime Minister of Pakistan since 7/7/05

    January 11, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  54. kev meaney

    In advanced citizenship/democracies,immediate opinions and concerns may be shared freely without fear. It is in this type of society all can freely question or praise any presidents performance. History will I think have a kinder view of the tenure considering the events.

    January 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm |
  55. Bonnie Grover

    American citizen, living in Cairo, Egypt for the past 17 years.

    The booming US economy seemed (looking from the outside) ridiculous from a middle class perspective: far too much personal credit, sky-high prices for tract homes, and no need for assets to back up borrowing more. Even without information on "packaging and trading financial instruments" it looked like a time bomb. And it seemed that no one was paying attention.

    Frankly, it looked like many other examples of the Bush Administration exploiting a feel-good factor (and the shortest public attention span on earth) for votes without caring what the overarching policies might mean in the longer run.

    Question: How much (if at all) do your experts believe that the financial crisis was allowed to occur as a result of the Republican political machine focusing on future votes rather than on governing a country?

    January 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  56. Jeff Talman

    Bush is not comparable to an athlete whose career may decline simply because his physical ability declines. A president should grow with experience and get better in office. Bush did not. The boost in GDP you tout as his achievement: that 'achievement' is not difficult when you are handing out money, creating deficits to shore up your 'achievement,' much as smiling Reagan did writing government checks creating government deficits and government debt. And no mention of the economic factors surrounding his mishandling of Katrina, or the windfall to corporations at the mercy of the environment, and the loss of respect for the USA worldwide (PR is business-economics also)... please. The man wasn't just a bad president, he was catastrophic. How bittersweet finally to paraphrase W.'s father: Read my lips: NO MORE BUSH!

    January 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  57. Nan McConnochie

    Keeping in mind the policy of the Fed, and the present move toward massively increased borrowing, shouldn't the American people collectively wonder whether exporting manufacturing, jobs, has been the ultimate betrayal. And will the world wonder whether allowing the collapse of Lehman Bros be the sign of further betrayal. Could it be seen that George Bush didn't say no and veto the bailout as indicative of a lack of a moral and ethical leadership.

    You ask about resistance. The economic legacy was initiated long before his Presidency and the Clinton years could be seen as lucky, but jobs need to produce and when imbalances occur at some stage there will be a settling. When are the American's and others like them going to settle or default. We are all watching the average house owner default. No honour in that.

    And we wait with baited breath for trade protectionism.

    New Zealand.

    January 11, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  58. Reinko Venema

    This is a dumb article:

    The economical boom was financed with debt, the so called 'economical stimulus' packages & all these FED rescue programs are only more debt. Beside debt via future tax payer money, the FED money printing press is activated...

    This article is so idiot: Total debt on the combined US financial sector is about 17 trillion and growing 13% a year since the Nixon regime.

    Once more we observe: The dumb Americans simply do not understand the debt situation they are in.

    The American media outlets only concentrate on credit card debt or declining house prices but credit card debt is only 8000 US$ per capita family.

    This article is so stupid: In the 22th century one of the details that historians will frown upon is the size of the debt on the US financial sector & the fantasy worlds writers like this article live in...

    January 11, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  59. Ed Thornburg

    The unbrella that Bush opened led to the most horrific scandals that have ever afflicted our country. He surrounded himself with narrow minded conservative despots and his legacy will be painted red from the flow of innocent blood that believed the lies of his administration. These past eight years are definitely a low point in American history.

    January 11, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  60. Charles

    "The first seven years of the Bush administration witnessed strong economic gains."

    Far too many of those "economic gains" were not true gains at all. Many were just "paper gains" due to the artificial inflation of housing prices stimulated by the sub-prime loans.

    Further, the gains were a result of over stimulation through the printing of money and running up national debt like never before. Anyone can live well if they just charge it to their credit cards.

    The current "down-turn" is not really a collapse. It is just a correction as the air leaks out of an over inflated housing market causing a lot of collateral damage.

    It would have been more correct to say that the first seven years were artificially and unsustainable fueled to create strong economic activity. When these corrected then the true economic picture emerged.

    January 11, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  61. Alex

    In a two-term presidency, what role (if any) is played by the "trickle down" effect?

    January 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  62. James Smith

    The George W Bush Administration is solely to blame for today's situation.

    Mr. Bush built his house upon the sand.

    Mr. Clinton's Administration built solid walls to keep the tide from destroying Mr. Bush's house upon the sand during the first years, but Mr. Bush's push for war, lax regulation, and lax audit issues permitted big business and his cronies to do as they pleased.

    I trust he will realize some day that his political machine was the true Global Pollutant!

    Submitted by a former Texas Republican

    January 11, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  63. James Smith

    It is human nature to recall events as less painful than they actually were at the time; it helps drive us on to accept new challenges and face new ordeals with less fear.

    It is the job of both historians and the sane, however, to remind us exactly how much this administration hurt the American people and the rest of the world, so that we may never (hopefully) make the same mistakes again.

    I'm an American writing from South Korea - as a world traveler, I experience firsthand the worldwide impacts of Bush's less-than-successful economic policies, and the phrase, "But I voted for Kerry!" doesn't get me off the hook when people blame me for the state of the world for being from the US.

    January 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  64. Fred McCay

    Bankers got greedy but there are always housing corrections. The oil barons of the world really did this to all economies of the world. They are truly the greedy and hold the world captive. For every extra dollar they took out of our pocket it could not be spend helping our economy and it made making mortgage payments that much harder. Oil affects the price of everything. Oil nations see strong economies and they want more and more to prop up their own regimes. You can say what you want about President Bush but he wanted to do all he could to make us less dependent on foreign oil while at the same time dealing with national security. Its time we all woke up. Tax cuts help not hurt, our economy. Was President Clinton really the reason for a surplus or was it policies and tax cuts that President Reagan promoted that finally appeared on the bottom line? We need to put the smartest people in Washington. We will see how well the democrats do with total control. They love their jobs too much to make hard choices and it is time for term limits in all branches of the government.

    January 11, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  65. Dan

    Whether he's to blame or not (and I'd say he definitely shoulders a fair portion of blame) the thing that gets me about the guy is that he just doesn't seem to give a damn.

    January 12, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  66. Kevin Rice

    Will it take untill 2100 until the final verdict is cast? Maybe it will take that length of time before the U.S. is back on a firm financial standing.
    What I know at this point is: 1. the U.S. internationally, is second only to Nazi Germany in terms of questionable actions. 2. Very low opinion of Americans world wide, (that why I say I'm Canadian fewer problems that way). 3. Never have I seen corp. America in charge of the white house to the extent of the last 8 years. 4. Largest military control of all aspects of life in the U.S. since WWII. Even though we were attacked by a non-country and was a criminal act therby no war was required but a police action. 5. 2 trillion in Iraq would have been a nice buffer for todays financial errors. 6. Afganistan should have been a stable democracy instead of two questionable governments. 7. And last but not least, a wilderness area in the middle of the pacific? No one to object to that move. And he thinks this will make his presidency a mark of conservation.

    Regards,

    Kevin

    January 12, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  67. ck

    Some of the Bush's achievement,

    Years of boom with artificially made low interest rates.

    Complete deregulations believing market will correct itself. Again deregulation is one reason for artificial boom.

    Years of war with no result.

    January 12, 2009 at 2:11 am |
  68. Reinaldo Torres

    I believe Mr. Bush commited so many mistakes that the problem with the economy comes under the same line. Bush attacked Hussein blaming him of 9/11 but Hussein had nothing to do, there were no weapons of mass distruction and the US produced more death in Irak in a year than Hussein did. And that just to name one example. Bush should go to jail because of that.

    When Katrina Bush didn't do anything, he was focused on the war until the public opinion was impossible to advoid that he took care of it but he just because he had to, not because he wanted to. He was like Hugo Chavez repeating himselve calling teh attention to his interest.

    Now, a big economic depression? it looks the kind of thing you would expect from his administration... Bush was just focused in creating businesses for the contractors in Irack, that was all his actual business plan for his government.

    January 12, 2009 at 2:12 am |
  69. Derek B

    Mr Bush took a brave step when he invaded iraq and afganistan. It should be said in restrospect that many prominant world figures agreed with the need for military action. That does not however absolve his administration from the ultimate failure that it has left behind. Like Johnson's decision in 1963 the USA has spent it's allowance and must now stand on the sidelines as it rebuilds it's finances. The energence of torture and disregard for human rights will be a dark, dark hole from which the USA must cleanse itself. As Truman once said "the buck stops here.". Bush should be remembered as a leader that took his country into the dangerous business of revenge and reckless spending. We are all worse off because of it

    January 12, 2009 at 2:17 am |
  70. Sadiq Wanka

    It is difficult for any president to begin to impose more scrutiny and more restrictions to banks and other institutions when the economy has been doing well for seven years. Could better policies have prevented the recession? Yes, but the level of economic growth gave the government a reason to relax.

    Manchester, United Kingdom

    January 12, 2009 at 2:34 am |
  71. Steven

    Bush would have been a good US president if it were the 60s or 70s.
    However, he just cannot catch up with the global culture nowadays.

    The 2 pieces of shoes in Iraq cannot be conclude the hatred of Bush in Iraq – thousands of country man killed, thousands of home ruined and the country is yet to be re-built.

    January 12, 2009 at 2:59 am |
  72. s.m.daneal

    The boom that American economy had over the first six years under president Bush cannot labeled as a complete bubble, nevertheless the aggressive lending and borrowing which allowed the market to bring in new products and services (not necessarily practical always) to peoples lives. This allowed average Americans to lead a lifestyle similar to Johny Depp, irrespective of the fact that they were in no financial position to afford the unnecessary luxuries. Even though the main street as well as wall street created and brought this havoc onto themselves and took down many american families and few smaller foreign economies, the government needs to keep a firm look and regulate the economy to ensure situation such as the one's we are living in does not occur. I believe Mr Bush is a firm 'Believer" of the notion that "market knows best" the only problem with that is the market is also made up of greedy and frankly stupid people. As a government it is a prime responsibility to look after all citizens interest. When Mr Bush allowed ease regulations the corporations in question were given freedom albeit more power. What Mr Bush should have considered was that 'Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely' .

    January 12, 2009 at 3:05 am |
  73. Peter

    Billions available for the rich. Nothing for the sick and poor.
    A legacy of entitlement versus impoverishment.
    A status of freedoms lost and rights suspended.
    An ever expanding zealous might makes right foreign policy.
    Mr. Bush should be ashamed. The American people should be enraged. The culture of apathy and self-satisfaction has allowed them to take this road. By contrast, no matter what Obama follows it with, the new situation cannot be found wanting in comparison. The darkest hour is always before the dawn.

    January 12, 2009 at 3:27 am |
  74. Elmer

    It seems clear that had regulation been maintained instead of relaxed (and there were warning signs after the Enron and Worldcom fiascos, both of which also came out under this administration) and our prodigious growth and personal and government borrowing kept in check, then this mess would at least be a lot smaller if not gone entirely. Remember that under Clinton we were also experiencing rapid technology driven growth. We left that administration both positive and the national debt was on the upward swing. This administration threw more and more fuel on that fire but didn't check how hot it was getting.

    January 12, 2009 at 3:28 am |
  75. Igor Ayala

    Mr.Bush have leaded the most powerful country in the world, which was founded on principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and tolerance. The battle againts its enemies is hard and is posible to make mistakes, but the important is to mantain unmoved those principles. I believe Mr. Bush will absolved by history.

    January 12, 2009 at 3:58 am |
  76. Hank Spirek

    If history looks kindly on this idiot then history is being written by fools.

    January 12, 2009 at 4:03 am |
  77. frank

    Has Bush ever done anything right?

    January 12, 2009 at 4:22 am |
  78. EKU

    Are you joking, of course the housing bubble is partially his fault. His administration keep the fed rate at a super low level for way to long. Which I believe was done for political gain, since the housing bubble helped win the second election. He also did not regulate the banks and all the CDO’s that they created. The same lack of regulation caused California to get screwed by Enron and other energy traders, and Bush did not push for prosecution of any of these fellows.
    You also forgot to mention his failure at New Orleans and the all the international and domestic laws he broke. He should be jailed and remembered always at what he was, the worst American president ever!

    January 12, 2009 at 4:52 am |
  79. Walter Wijendra

    Bush administration’ spent more on unnecessary things like war’s and fingering into others affaires more than looking in to USA economy. Expenditure was more than the income, simple erithmatic.

    January 12, 2009 at 4:52 am |
  80. savee

    BUSH(ES), ..JUST SOUGHT PRESIDENCY for FINANCIAL GAIN(power) and SECURITY, as well as for FAME which HE does not deserved at all. Bushes family and Accomplices are totally SELFISH AND EVIL...

    January 12, 2009 at 5:30 am |
  81. louie valencia

    Bush acted as he was called to act as president of USA and as one of global leaders affected by the 9/11 and series of "unfortunate events" and current world situation at that time.

    He acted according to his conscience and the limited information he got from various sectors of government and allied countries.

    The world will remember the boom years before Bush, but learn more from the bust. Learning from this lesson, the US economists and politicians can better see the future of US as a nation and global partner of many other nations. I think the US economy will not recover in the next 3-4 years. A real transformation must happen in US culture and dream.

    Louie
    Philippines.

    January 12, 2009 at 5:47 am |
  82. Rancherrick

    Bush is not to blame for this.But neither is anything he has done in his last months of office going to change the state of things to come.New York Wall Street firms who created a "fairy tale" bull market on the backs of clients whose only qualification was to sustain a pulse and make interest payments until their homes appreciated in value are the true villains.Convenient that most of them exited the market before the proverbial **** hit the fan.

    January 12, 2009 at 7:22 am |
  83. Michael C. McHugh

    For historians studying Bush's economic policies, I think he will be placed in the same category as Herbert Hoover. In ideology, Bush was a somewhat befuddled free market conservative in the school of Alan Greenspan and Milton Friedman, who really thought that the classical economists of the 19th Century had actaully discovered eternal truths and laws of social and economic development that were valid for all time, in all places.

    Like Herbert Hoover, he discovered that this simply wasn't true. To his chagrin the whole system malfunctioned, suffered a complete meltdown and nervous breakdown right before his eyes, and he was forced to take a number of measures to prop up the system that free market conservatives find appalling. Even these did not turn out to be enough, but on the whole his legacy will be that of the last president of the Second Gilded Age (1970s to early 2000s), and the first of the Second Progressive Era.

    To be sure, he was a reluctant progressive, Keynesian and statist, and probably not a very effective one, but in the end there was no choice. Soon, we will have a lot more of the same on a global level.

    Michael C. McHugh, PhD
    American University
    Sarjevo, Bosnia

    January 12, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  84. Christine in Japan

    President Bush was the more favorable choice in both elections as there wasn't a large enough pool of talented people to choose from at that time. He seemed promising at the start, but in a way he signifies how out of touch the baby boomer generation is becoming in regards to the way the world works these days.

    Not only politics is undergoing dramatic changes, but also the way companies are run. Obama represents the new style of openness and creative thinking with complex issues. He also accurately represents the "New America" as Bill Maher eloquently puts it, whereas President Bush appears to have represented the privileged few.

    January 12, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  85. Per Holmlund

    Lying and liking

    When economics becomes politics you can always hope to get the Nobel Prize. It’s sad to see how an economic process that’s been developing for a decade is transformed into “The” financial crises of 2007. Think of the effects for a patient that is sent home from the hospital with headache pills when having a tumor. I’m not a fan of W Bush but it doesn’t mean that I have to make up stories about him. But then I’m not a politician.

    The financial megatrend that started in early 1980’s came to a stop, my choice, March 25 2000. I’m choosing the March 25 2000 because that was the day when the Swedish socialist Prime minster Goran Persson presented the socialist speculation doctrine. The statement was made in the biggest business daily in Sweden, Dagens Industri. The red doctrine: “Buy stocks. The market is not overvalued” got the full first page.

    And you have never seen the NASDAQ100 higher since March 25 2000. It was the start of the tech melt down signaling the end of a financial mega phase and the beginning of a crises phase. And just buy luck I had the opportunity to have a speech the same time at a conference with among others John Bollinger. It was in Paris and the message was: Time to sell, not buy!

    So the fact is that before W Bush took office long term forces had already started to reverse the economic landscape. A landscape that was a result of administrations before him and whose policies and decisions probably have had a bigger impact of what’s happening today then the polices and decisions’ of the sitting. Before W Bush acting, W Bush reacting. But the sitting should still be criticized for decisions not taken 2005-2007.

    And one decision should have been to create an independent economic team to work with questions as: What’s different with today’s economy compared with yesterdays? What will the effect be if the development continues for ten more days? Create scenarios A, B and C. Example: It took Dow 100 years to go 10 times, and then 50 years and the last 10-timer took 17 years. Should a bell be ringing or should you scream: Hallelujah we’ll make it in 8 years next time! You do the math for housing.

    But it looks like most people mentally still are living in the financial phase dreaming of financial markets running away from the fundamental reality. The idea is that the train will get moving again with a recycling of policies used in the 1930’s. Will polices applied for a growing industrial economy solves the problem of an aging service economy 2009? I doubt it but that’s something to be discussed in the Obama legacy.

    And I will just give an example of effects when a long term trend is changing. I have lived a life with ups and downs and one of the ups was lived in Chicago. I happened to be invited to an Ira Epstein cable TV-show in early 1990 where I said that Dow could go 9000 but it should take seven to eight years. After the show people phoned in and were surprised and upset because they had a “crazy” Swede in the program. Back then the dream wasn’t the fast train, it was the milk train.

    Good “Bye”
    Per Holmlund

    January 12, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  86. Sam in Spain

    There are 4 types of people in the world, These are the "Conscious Competents", Unconscious Competents", "Conscious Incompetents" and "Unconscious Incompetents". I very much regret that there are too many of the latter running both companies and Governments. I leave other to decide into whoich category George W. Bush falls, amybe on many decisions he falls into different ones.

    January 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  87. William Lau

    When there is no longer any axe to grind because of time Bush will look wonderful because all aspects of his actions will be judged fairly instead of by the far left media. Look how long it took for people to finally admit that Roosevelts socialist projects actually slowed down the economic recovery instead of the claim that he was our Savior.

    January 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  88. Lala

    Mr Bush has 7 days and and few hours to be evicted from the White house. I am glad the darkest era in the history of the United States will come to an end.

    January 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  89. marklar

    Bush couldve saved us a lot of money if he never started an interminable war; that money couldve been spent on social and educational reform, duh!

    January 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  90. Jerry Bowling

    No, George Bush was not the worst President but he did make a lot of mistakes. I can truly sya that he at least tried and he did successfully force terrorism to be fought on a different front. Would it be better if he did nothing because of what public opinion might be? Everyone makes mistakes. I think the worst president is a president that brings shame upon his country, like publicly stating before the whole world that he did not have sex with a White House Secretary and after he was found out stated that she only had oral sex with him. This done before the entire world is what brings shame to a country.

    January 12, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  91. robintraveler

    This latest failure is a clear result of LACK OF LEADERSHIP. The idea behind de-regulating the wolf pack has shown its wisdom or lack there of and now the poor and middle class suffer. Those with cash on the side stand to profit as the markets will eventually recover and the "Bush rich" will once again get richer. The only thing that can stave off a destabilizing inequality is a firm government resolve to limiting the rewards to the rich.....a bit like the fox guarding the henhouse.......We need impartial leadership focussed on what is right, NOT on what most benefits the already rich and powerful.

    January 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  92. robintraveler

    The Cheney Bush presidency was a disaster, start to finish. The front man can't put two syllables together, and the shadow master hasn't a moral bone in his body.......everyone is worse off for it except the mega-rich who have profited. Thank God it is over. Lets get behind this next administration and put a shoulder to the wheel to get us ALL up and out of the ditch !

    January 12, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  93. lauro silva Brazil

    Mr. George W. Bush.- The most unpopular US president? The worst US president in history ? The most US naive president? Maybe it´s easier to answer if Mona Lisa´s smiling to tempt a lover or to hide a brokenheart, I guess his physical appearance has something to do with his way of being. He has a funny walk, ready to say come up here, I knock you down or then, I´ll kill you. If you pay attention to his face you notice his eyes, nose and mouth don´t match themselves pretty well. He´s a bit cross-eyed, an arrowhead shaped nose and a thin lips mouth, wich jointly make up an unfriendly and arrogant semblance. The tougher content matters to be asked about the more cross-eyed he gets. You know Charles, I take pitty on him, not to mention the picture above showing him in tears on his way home. It hasn´t been clear enough to me why Mr. Bush has been attacking Iraq. Oil? Al Qaeda? Saddam? On that score and in my humble opinion, Mr. Bush took his revenge on Saddam because of the Mr. Bush´s father´s trampled over picture on the sidewalk at the entrance of a hotel in Bagdad. As to the violent, sudden and destructive upheaval, is Mr. Bush to blame ? Certainly, yes. Because of his truculence,arrogance, stubborness and naiveness? Supposedly, yes. Mr. Alan Greenspan just jumped out of the boat only stating he could never imagine the greedy bankers triggering off the housing disaster. Is Mr. Alan Greenspan to blame? Certainly, yes.

    January 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  94. Chas Andrews

    Personally I believe that Bush simply just happened to be the President who inherited a snowball turned avalanche of unchecked greed (and I'm not a Bush supporter or anywhere near a fan of him). Sure he made things worse, but after 2001, it was only a matter of time until we got where we are today, and since WWII America has been using wars or "police actions" to boost its economy, so he was really following an outdated line of thought that was doomed to fail sometime. To find the root of the problem I'd even say you could go back to Regan's pushing the country forward through the usage of financial deregulation. It was what the country needed in the 1980s, but the following administrations just blindly continued the policy of financial deregulation and left things go unchecked and unpaid, leaving Bush to inherit the consequences and figure out a solution to try and keep the good times rolling. And in a way he did kind of prolong the 1920s-ish feel of the 1990s. What Americans should have done was use 9/11 & Enron as a wake up call that though things were good now, they weren't always going to be that way. As Mark Twain is oft quoted nowadays "History doesn't repeat itself, though it tends to rhyme". Keeping that in mind we should have looked back to the last time America was like this in the 1920s and thought ahead instead of saying "Carpe Diem" and partying. In the end, putting blame on either Bush, his predecessors, or anyone else for that matter is useless and childish. Although History seems to record many instances of when people would rather act like children and blame a scape goat than rather face the truth and honesty of the matter that any blame really rests on themselves. So if History records anything of the presidency of George W. Bush I expect it'll say that he got Herbert Hoover off the hook, as Hoover got James Buchanan off the hook for being "the worst president in history". Then we'll just have to wait another 70-80 years for another president to get Bush off the hook. Till then the childish name calling will prevail.

    January 12, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  95. Guieu Didier

    What is Bush’s economic score?
    George W. Bush’s economic is catastrophic for US these last few years.

    The attacks in the US "9-11", the war in Afganistan, the war in Iraq,the anti-European view "the Old Continent's opostion" and anti-UN view, the hurricane Katrina "the World Climate", his political view with North Korea, Iran, Israel(his support for Israel's military operations in Liban and in Gaza),Cuba and Venezuela,and the US crisis and the world crisis are a disasters..

    A complete failure of the American econimic and the American political view.
    He is absolutely the worst US president in history.

    BRAVO...

    January 12, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  96. Arno (from Bochum, Germany)

    Let the man go in peace now:
    You can't blame a sheep for beeing a sheep, rather you should blame the herd for making it the shepherd – twice !!!

    The morgage crisis is only secondary since it has arisen from a structural decline of purchasing power of the middle class the effect of which on the economy has been delayed by consumption on the nod.
    Instead of dealing with the underlying problem and establihing reasonable rules in the banking sector interest rates were held low in order to support this unhealthy contribution to the GNP.

    The burst of the bubble was not unpredicted by economists, the conclusions would just not have fit the ideological line of the administration.

    January 12, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  97. nick lanera

    Of one thing we can all agree, the world and the USA are much worse now then 8 years ago. NL

    January 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  98. George in PA

    Bush's financial legacy is that in his eight years the Federal deficit more than doubled. The result is the Federal Reserve keeps printing more money which will devalue the dollar and lead to inflation. Is the public aware of this? You bet! That is why Bush's approval rating is so low and why the Republicans were soundly beaten in the recent election. As to how History will judge him, it may depend on how the country does in the next eight years. If the situation gets worse in a Democratic administration then Bush may not be the only fall guy.

    January 13, 2009 at 2:57 am |
  99. Paul

    The problem we have in the U.S. is we listen too much to the media.
    Here is a good one – Oprah says boy I am glad Obama won – I would have needed an I.V. and a bed to lay down in if those other guys won.
    Here is the problem there are a lot of actual problems for people who face foreclosure, lost income, etc.. The last time I checked Oprah is one of the richest people in the WORLD! Do not be a democrat or a Republican – be an American – take ownership for yourself. I am hurting – I work on commission like many of you right now! I am tired everyone giving the President credit for 6 years and blasting him for 2 years – I think the entire problem is the cabinet, the Democrats, the Republicans – the entire system is broken – The President does not have as much power as everyone thinks – He/She is not on an island. They do not go to war with out backing, Lets work on the system – How about each Governor/Senator gets a Max of 8 years – The President gets 8 Years Max – yet we can let a Senator stay there for 20 years – FIX the Problem – we will always have this up and down cycle if not! When Clinton left office do you know the 30 year mortgage rate was 7.9% at 1 point. Then the administration changes and it rolls for 6 years – too much so that we forget about constraints and now 2 years later we are in a mess- In 2 years it will be better – It works in cycles – just do some research! Lets build the economy slowly but steadily!

    January 13, 2009 at 6:33 am |
  100. Louise Atherton

    It is unfortunate that President Bush legacy is only viewed from America's demostics and war on terror prism. George W. Bush’s legacy should be viewed from a wider spectrum of his contribution as a President.

    Such contribution as the ones he made in Africa should really be cited. It will be unfair to neglect his work on AIDS in Africa. From all indications, this is higher than any other America's President has ever achieved.

    Under his Presidency, the United States obligated $505 million to trade capacity building (TCB) activities in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007 financial year, this is up 26% from 2006 financial year. Cumulative U.S. Trade Capacity Building to sub-Saharan Africa from 2001 to 2007 year totalled $1.6 billion Additionally, in February 2008, President Bush announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation would support five new private equity investment funds focused on sub-Saharan Africa, with a combined target capitalization of $875 million. The impact of these contribution is one of the issues that will be debated at the International Conference and trade exhibition on Industry Growth, Investment and Competitiveness in Africa(www.kfint.com/igica). This will be held on 8-10th June 2009 at Abuja, Nigeria

    Although I am what can be considered as a Conservative Democrat who would vote for President elect OBAMA. I am however concerend that the President elect may not be able to at least match the contribution that President Bush made in Africa. This comments should be an issue that can be discussed later on this blog in the future

    January 13, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  101. Nam(South Korea)

    I think he is a not good president in history.

    Our country has experienced candlelight vigil in last year.

    Anyway he will gain a bad scorecard.

    January 13, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  102. Jeff -- Germany

    I am amazed at the lack of intellectual rigor in most of the comments on this page (both pro and con for President Bush). Especially enlightening is the amount of vitriol being poured on his "education" and "arrogance" by people who have most-likely never walked a mile in the uncomfortable shoes of leading large organisations where decisions may mean life or death or economic up- or down-turn. throughout history, a culture's "present-day" opinion has always been parochial and nearsighted. National leaders and followers and the media and pollsters that try to comment on them have always been that way... if you want some education to see what I am talking about (if you are capable of reading beyond an 8th grade level), try Thucydides, Josephus, and St Augustine's "City of God" (first part - before his theolgy dissertations).

    President Bush will get a fair shake by historians who won't be whining over their bruised egos and political agendas. I do believe his loyalty to allies and his courage in the face of mounting (if not overwhelming) public dissatisfaction will be a credit to him in the future. I am always reminded by my parents and grandparents that Roosevelt and Churchill were often viewed as popular leaders, but in reality, most common folk thought their handling of the war effort was misguided and cavalier - ironically, below the radar of pollsters, they were not as popular at their present times as one might think; but history has painted them in the correct light, as it will President Bush.

    January 13, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  103. Peter Augustine

    Seems we're having a case of selective memory here. The begining of the housing debacle dates to the Clinton changes to the Community Reinvestment act and the failure of Congress (read Frank, Cox ans Schumer) to reign in Fannie and Freddie, despite repeated attempts to do so by the Bush Treasury Secretaries. No regulations? Unbridled capitalism? Hardly, this administration presided over Sarbanes Oxley and imposes a tariff (later ruled illegal) on imported steel in an attempt to protect American jobs. This administration did make America safer, while terrorist have bombed London and Madrid, they have not dared strike here. The reason simply being that to do so will bring swift, horrible retribution. Something even the Romans understood.
    If you want to see who is responsible for the current financial crisis, may I suggest you go look in the nearest mirror. On that score, we have met the enemy and it is us.

    January 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  104. Dagyeng from Africa

    Bush cannot be the worst or the most hated. People forget too quickly and that is the problem of this score card. 9/11 would not have been targetted at Bush but America considering the timing ,why??. If you were in Bush's possition would you not expect sympathy for any mistake if any in fighting back the murderers?. Mistake is admitted because it caused global economic crisis.
    Americans must not allow the same tererists to rate Bush as the worst no matter the outcome of his actions. Yes there are some difficulties now but it is necessary to flash back before any sincere rating. Bush will live and die (at the right time) as a great American hero who would not renage in the face of critism and opposition.
    Americans will always remember you Bush for fighting to protect them.

    January 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  105. Judith H

    No one has addressed the problem of consumer credit issues and in fact the whole credit rating system. Several of the major players in the credit card business (AMEX, Citicorp, Chase, et al) are not regulated as far as usury laws and consumer rights, why were they allowed to access the TARP funds? American Express has tightened credit for consumers and small businesses. The weak legislation to address this issue will not be in effect until 2010. This is another economic meltdown in the making. What will Obama do for the middle class and small businesses that are victims of credit card interest rate hikes and the capricious manner in which Experian, TRW and other credit rating agencies make their subjective decisions? Bankruptcy will be the only way to repair credit for many.

    January 14, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  106. Stephen

    if Mr. Bush have not ventured into the 2nd invasion of Iraq on the lie of WMD and his filthy rich cronies were not given a free hand in playing the world economy, the world will not be in this mess now.

    Mr. Bush's legacy is War Crime & Economy Sabotage. The blood of the innocent are on his hands as well as those "Top & Smart" "Leaders of Industries" who are now causing unemployment while they still remain on their job...come to think of it, why aren't they fired and made to payback all the bonuses they got on paper wealth?

    January 14, 2009 at 5:28 am |
  107. Winston

    Dear 360 and gang: I can't believe that the networks would even give this bozo Bush a spot on national television this Thursday night, at all. The poor little rich billionaire Mommies boy Bush, has got some real gall, to even show his funny face to the American people, after the damage he and his pack of rats have inflicted on America. A good OLE school tar and feather is what he and his pals Chaney, Kissinger, Greenspan and a hole bunch more of them need, urgently! I am proud to say I have never voted for a Bush. Winston Scott, Huntington Beach Ca.

    January 14, 2009 at 5:34 am |
  108. Andrew

    The craziness of creating credit in the US financial system has had it's repercussions worldwide. We in New Zealand have benefited from the party as well. As a result we are now indebted to someone, but just who are the faceless people? It'll be scary stuff when they come knocking on our door...soon. George Bush and his advisors never knew what was happening. Most didn't. (www.jwsgoldsilver.com)

    January 14, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  109. RIC

    An Israeli doctor says "Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for work in six weeks."

    A German doctor says "That is nothing; we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks."
    A Russian doctor says "In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have them both looking for work in two weeks."

    The Texas doctor, not to be outdone, says "You guys are way behind, we recently took a man with no brains out of Texas, put him in the White House for eight years, and now half the country is looking for work."

    Have a good week!

    January 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  110. Francesco from the Netherlands

    Adding and expanding on a previous comment:

    1. Bush has been elected twice – I repeat twice. While he is responsible for many major mistakes, the americal people is and will forever remain accountable for having put him there, and left there eight long and damaging years.

    2. For those who believe Bush was there 'to defend the country' and this kind of rethoric, one word (actually two): wake up! America is still seen as the number one public enemy worldwide, including large parts of Europe. America' s use of political, economic and military force is predatory. This approach to anything 'not american' has created, and will continue to create, the very enemies your 'hero' has been fighting making use of – guess what – your money!

    3. Forgive me the sarcasm – do you really believe that for those who lost job, house, money and future does it matter if Iraq is now Saddam free? Or if there is 'democracy'? Was this what the US people expected and wanted from Bush?

    Don't think so...

    And you know what is the funniest part? Obama will have to spend years to clean up this mess... in the hope americans do not vote another republican fool after him...

    January 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  111. Emeka - Nigeria

    Bush did his best and what is right, he is human and can mistakes, The current ecomonic problem is not his fault. I admire his courage and the final not the war in Irag is inevitable and necessary to protect Americans

    January 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  112. Ganesh Nathan

    I think the blame goes to Alan Greenspan who controlled monetary policy and we face the consequence of his policy decisions.

    G. Nathan, Zurich, Switzerland

    January 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  113. Tom Hughes

    The US financial problems at their core go back a lot further than 8 years. The mortgage crisis was the inevitable consequence of 1980's loss of the Savings & Loan industry. All real estate is local. Always has been. With the loss of the S&L industry into the void stepped the Fast Money men of Wall Street. The rest was history.

    As to the real economy well that was given away starting with George Bush Sr, accelerated under Clinton with the signing of WTO for China, and hastened on its way by Bush II who learned his world economics at his Father"s knee and Harvard Buss School.

    Laws allowing and encouraging American corporations to exit the US and force the American workers to compete against Free Trade-not Fair Trade have spelled the end to the prosperity of the American middle class. Congress aided and abetted this for more than 15 years.

    The die was cast long ago about the time Ross Perot spoke of that Giant Sucking Sound. Now even Mexico has high cost labour.
    Getting down to only 10% of the workers being involved in manufacturing will have become our economic Waterloo. On to that add a dynamic of Narcissitic Greed on Wallstreet and a wicked whiches brew has been served up to the American people. But worst of all is the people keep electing the same types to Congress who set all of this in motion. Maybe next time in 2010 the real cleanout begins?

    Tom Hughes
    Auckland, (formerly Minneapolis),NZ

    January 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  114. Marius Forteni

    If the policies of Bush where to blame for the economy , how come socialist countries like the UK for example are in even worse shape?
    Goverment does not produce a thing and can only redistrubute what companies (the people) have created.

    January 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  115. Shahid Hassan

    The legacy is that of successive US administrations since WW2 and beyond. Bush only fine tuned that legacy by his deficits, wars, unilatral actions and the absence of sensible regulations against individual and corporate avarice.The American society contributed massively by their limitless greed and lust and ended up in the hands of conmen both identified and those still in action. One man cannot be held responsible for the current debacle; the whole society and past generations and leaders are equally responsible.Shahid Hassan. Peshawar, Pakistan.

    January 15, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  116. James Alexandros Papastamos

    Since the end of the Cold War, in 1991, capitalism changed. With globalization, humanity witnessed a high tech revolution. Truly, I say to you, we live in a 'global village'. But without protectionism, an economy's manufacturing base is destined to suffer. I'm no economics wizard, yet I can clearly see how our manufacturing base has dwindled down to its current, deplorable level. The new economy has nearly destroyed the once vibrant middle class. Our fathers, especially those who immigrated to the new world from Europe, were able to realize their dreams, regardless of their education or job training. All they needed was the will to succeed, and they could do so. Now, we have created an economy that shall have only two classes: those who "have" and those who "have not". This is economic t yrrany. I am 44 years old, university educated, yet unemployed and living with my parents. I am sure that there are many in my situation.
    George W. Bush's biggest mistake was the so-called "war on terrorism". This costly war has drained the U.S. economy to the point it"s at this day. The only way to save the economy is to abandon this "war on terror", bring our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan home, and return to the old economic policy of protectionism. Free trade is like a wrestling match between Hulk Hogan and Pee Wee Herman. There is no justice. Each nation ought protect its own manufacturing base. American's should support their own auto industry. They should buy American. When did this become politically incorrect. Why must everyone drive a Honda? This is despite the fact that Honda, I'm sure, does make better cars. We must save jobs. When people are out of work, money cannot circulate. People won't spend. This initiates a chain reaction. Soon, business after business suffers. The service industry suffers. The retail industry suffers. The U.S. economy has ended up in the state it is in today because of George Bush's costly war on terror. Was Iraq a direct threat to the United States? The answer is a resounding NO! This is President Bush's legacy: one foreign policy blunder that has rippled, and thus crippled America's once vibrant economy.

    January 15, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  117. PAULINE/SOUTH AFRICA

    i agree with Tuggey.Let us not forget Enron and the likes.Mr bush has had a personal agenda with Iraq . There is I think a lot more to the situation
    than we are being told.I have to wonder why in his last year in office
    the world is 'suddenly' having an economic meltdown.
    Perhaps Mr bush and his friends,who will no longer be able to hide
    behind his skirt, have been padding there own retirement packages?

    January 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  118. Elvis

    First of all, the mother of all lies, WOMD in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden 9/11 based in Aghahistan and axis of evil. President Bush has all the ambition to make war with these countries. Until to day, theres no mass weapon of mass descruction in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden is still laughing somewhere and if John McCain won, we would see another war in Iran. I cant believe that americans are so blind to see that the person who their put trust, is putting the rest of the world hostage. And making matter worse, the US economy is dragging every trading nations into unneccessary recession. America has lost its credibility to the rest of the world, and now fast becoming a liability too. I forsee large number of americans migrating to other countries i.e. Canada or China due to expected collapse of US economy. Well done Bush....Elvis(Mumbai)

    January 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  119. Philip Robinson

    What I find incredible reading these blogs on Bush is that after 8 years of "W" you still find people willing to defend his record. It really begs the question where have they been? Is there indeed any place on earth which has not been affected negatively by his disastrous governance? Well, in any case, my hats off to them, to continue to live in such sublime ignorance demands a commitment and perseverence given to few!

    January 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  120. vishal

    if bush would have been so intelligent with economics to create an economic mess, there would have been no war on terror. it is actually alan greenspan who is totally responsible for this economic collapse. greenspan kept the interest rates artifically too low for too long, thereby resulting in a real estate bubble, which later expanded to credit market and today the entire economy is suffering.

    January 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  121. Mark - Slovakia

    Just wondering how Amaricans could make such stupid and arogant person their president???
    He is responsible for thousands of dead American soldiers, for tens of thousands death civilians including children in Iraq and other countries, for torturing of people, he ignored warnings before 9/11, and above all he allowed collapse of US economy (millions of job less people, $ is just cheap piece of paper now). He also destroyed good name of the USA worldwide.
    That man should go directly to jail.

    January 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  122. Bill Anderson

    A tougher question than one would at first suppose. Certainly in microeconomic ways, i.e., money squandered on Iraq invasion and other costs of global war on terror, and in macroeconomic ways (okay, mass psychology) Bush has not been at all beneficial to the economy, what with his popularity; two elections of significant losses for his party; the housing bubble he at least helped to artificially inflate; and the general sense that America was headed in the wrong direction – on these points, Bush has to be judged, at best, near the bottom of the heap. A true failure.

    However, in other ways, perhaps even more crucial to the current economy than even a President of the United States, Bush probably had little he could do to thwart a meltdown – American consumers have been seeking always lower prices at big box stores providing vast quantities of Chinese exports. Only one outcome is possible when retailers continually pursue such policy and consumers buy into such an alternative ponzi scheme – deflation and recession in the short run, leading to galloping inflation as governments try to inflate out of economic catastrophe.

    In this latter development, to be fair, Bush is not to blame any more than any other politician, businessman or consumer. Ultimately, only such companies as Apple might be able to prevail, but only if they maintain a significant investment in R & D.

    Thus, yes, I do score Bush an 'F' and do detest his managment and vision(-less) leadership. However, I only hold him accountable for 30% of the downslide. Seventy-percent of the fall I attribute to the rest of us (including myself) for getting suckered into trying to save a buck here and there and thence deprive my neighbors their fair chance to produce a superior product.

    I might add that I encourage us all to Buy American when American Is best, but always buy the best instead of the cheapest, and we all win the greatest benefit eventually.

    January 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  123. hayasi lim

    today.the pick-me-up from the gov will never boost this situation,cause world`s discrepancy. ex)too many mortals in debt,out of works,environmentals problem etd those are not just our generation`s subject thar can be solved but will be never in the end of tunnel.it must be an apocalypse i.e that run in road deeply to our world

    January 15, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  124. Lamin Fofanah Gbla

    2009 A YEAR FOR CHANGE!

    THE PRESIDENT GOING AND COMING COULD ASK FOR FORGIVENESS ON BEHALF OF ALL AMERICANS TO THE REST OF THE WORLD AND SHOULD ALSO FORGIVE THIER ENEMIES AROUND THE WORLD.
    BECAUSE YOUR FORFATHERS SAID " IN GOD WE TRUST".

    Lamin Fofanah Gbla
    Tel: (514)-521-1961,Montreal.

    January 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  125. Bolot Bazarbaev

    Hope Barak Obama will bring positive CHANGEs in US economy.

    January 16, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  126. L. Gunam

    A whole lot of people down in Australia do say a huge thanks to President Bush who lead us all through an extremely diffcult period in history. Thank you sir for your leadership and courage in facing the enemy that threatens our civilisation and the media that feeds on and is nurtured by this evil that we all face. We wish you well.

    January 16, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  127. Iraqi Fan

    The reception that he got in Iraq is a clear indication of what his economic score card is and what will be his legacy!

    Short n simple...

    January 16, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  128. Emerson

    This is too big of a subject to really be handled adequately in a comment, but to summarize, Bush did some things well and other things poorly... Just like every other president before him, and just like Obama and his successors will.

    I believe that while a lot of the problems may well have been exacerbated by the Bush administration, the roots of them come from Americans themselves. Others have mentioned some, such as legacy deregulation, the housing debacle (greedy lenders out to make a buck at all costs; greedy Americans trying to buy a house not for the purpose of true home ownership, but to flip in a year or two and stroll off with 50%+ profit), greedy corporations (sending manufacturing overseas, to the detriment of lost American jobs and industrial base), people seeking to pay the least for goods (which leads somewhat into greedy corporations, charging as much as they can while keeping manufacturing costs as low as possible)... None of this can be blamed on the Bush administration... well, with the possible exception of the ballooning housing demand, which was encouraged by the gov't to stave off the last economic slowdown.

    Sure, there were tax cuts to corporations and individual investors which increased the budget imbalance. I think those were enormous mistakes, destroying any chance of maintaining a budget balance. If they truly were created to soften an economic slowdown, they should have been phased back in when the economy started taking off again... and they weren't. This led to crazy profiteering, sending expectations through the roof, so when something went marginally sideways ("What? Company X only MET its forecast profits?! They suck! Sell sell sell!") things spun out of control.

    Yes, the wars were also a big fiasco, but again, I blame the public for some of this. Americans are big on peaceful solutions to problems, and attempt to force these beliefs on other cultures. This does not always work as intended, at least not in the short term. Take Iraq. For the past 50+ years, Iraqi citizens have lived under some form of dictatorship, ranging from difficult to brutal. They have not enjoyed the rights and freedoms afforded Americans. So when Americans strolled in, kicked Saddam out, and told the Iraqis "Congratulations! You're free! Start your own government! We aren't allowed to tell you how to run your country or anything, though. Just try to make it a democracy, and we'll be happy, and so will you." Iraqis were used to being told how to do things, and were suddenly free to do whatever they chose... and three things happened. Some people rushed to fill the power vacuum with their own selfish agendas. Some people were in shock, with deer-in-the-headlights looks, as they waited for someone to tell them what to do and how to do it. And the remainder tried to carry on the same way they'd been doing for the past 20 years, eking out their existance while trying to keep their heads under the radar.

    The first group became the government, and the squabbling is just as bad there as it is here, if not worse (they have more political groups, and have the added "bonus" of having conflicting religious factions, sometimes even among their own political parties). The second group (which apparently seemed to consist of a significant percentage of people who dealt with the country's infrastructure) did nothing, and the country's electrical, water, financial, education, road, and food distribution systems became dysfunctional. And finally, the third group, well, they just kept on hanging on as best they could, running the restaurants, grocery stores, religious centers, and everything else as best they could given the problems due to failures in infrastructure.

    Japan and Germany were in similar states of chaos after WWII... And America rolled in, declared martial law, told them what to do and how to do it, and things were done. Any opposition to the occupation was swiftly dealt with militarily. The infrastructure did not languish nearly as long as it has in Iraq. The governments were turned over more rapidly. And these two countries had been hammered a lot harder than Iraq had. So we failed in Iraq, not because of the military victory (or even, for that matter, the reason we went to war in the first place), but in how we handled things after the war was over.

    A great article (written in 2003, so you can see where things went wrong) can be found at http://www.usip.org/pubs/peaceworks/pwks49.pdf

    Anyway, the "current" generation will usually focus on the negatives more than the positives, because that's just the way people are in this day and age, especially when personally affected by the problems.

    My guess is, this recently retired Bush administration will recover to some extent, and come out in the end as one of the many "Despite all these problems, some good was done during these two terms" presidencies.

    January 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  129. Phil

    Pres. Bush tried to be a nice guy with the Japanese and Europeans. They are allowed to tax imported U.S. cars so high their countrymen can't afford to buy our products (except the rich). The U.S. ruins our auto makers and allows the imported autos to be sold without taxing them as the Japanese and the Europeans do. That is the main reason why our auto makers are down and out. That, and the ridiculous fictional salaries the CEOs and Exces are being paid, are stripping the big 3 from staying in business. Let them go bankrupt – at least you will get rid of these high paid CEOs and their Execs.
    Maybe Pres. Obama might see the light? Do unto them that do unto us – seems fair to me?

    January 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
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    October 9, 2012 at 9:54 am |

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