# The next president will probably be at least as bad as Bush (believe it or not)

• News

## Main Question or Discussion Point

I honestly don't know why people even bother to talk about Democrats & Republicans, as if there's really a difference. It's a very sad & hopeless situation for the US, no doubt about it, especially because Americans are in denial about it. Giuliani says stuff in here that you'd expect to hear from a "typical American right-winger" but the Democrats, who are supposed to be the opposition, almost outdo him.

Hillary Clinton voted in favour of the congressional resolution that authorized the use of force against Saddam Hussein, and unlike her rival John Edwards, refused to apologize for her vote. Like other Democratic contenders, Clinton has not ruled out military strikes against Tehran. But Clinton is the only one who on Sept. 26 voted in favour of a Senate resolution that labels the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Her vote is being portrayed as helping to pave the way for a military attack by the Bush administration.

<snip>

But the fact is, Clinton is working hard not to look like a foreign policy wimp. "For many years the Democrats have been perceived as weak on national security, and they are determined not to be perceived that way again," says Richard Betts, a professor of political science and director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. "With Clinton, she has the added problem of suspicions that a woman may be less tough, and she may be compensating for that. She seems to have decided that at least in an election her main vulnerability will be on the national security side, and any softness would be something the Republicans could exploit." Or as Eli Lake, a columnist in the conservative New York Sun, predicts, "Mrs. Clinton will sprout wings and talons and screech for the blood of every Iranian terrorist as soon as she receives her party's nomination."

But Clinton's Iraq war vote and her posturing on Iran can't be easily dismissed as ploys. In July 2006, a former envoy of her husband's administration, Richard Holbrooke, now described as a close adviser to Clinton, talked about her foreign policy views to New York magazine: "She is probably more assertive and willing to use force than her husband. Hillary Clinton is a classic national security Democrat. She is better at framing national security issues for the current era than her husband was at a common point in his career."

In one 2000 speech, Clinton made clear that she supported military interventions, even if they were messy: "There is a refrain that we should intervene with force only when we face splendid little wars that we surely can win, preferably by overwhelming force in a relatively short period of time. To those who believe we should become involved only if it is easy to do, I think we have to say that America has never and should not shy away from the hard task if it is the right one."

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http://www.macleans.ca/world/usa/article.jsp?content=200701031_16428_16428 [Broken]

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ShawnD
True, but this isn't really news. When is the last time the US had a candidate you could really agree with and say "this guy reflects everything I believe". There's probably a guy like that from each party, but they lose the election for leadership of that party, which funnels the vote down to 2 retards that nobody wants.

The only candidate this time around that I saw any real support for was Ron Paul, but the people supporting him are so small that the numbers fall within the margin of error. Everybody else is trying to vote for the person most likely to win (Hillary), so you end up with somebody likely to win who was really your second or third choice overall.

The only candidate this time around that I saw any real support for was Ron Paul, but the people supporting him are so small that the numbers fall within the margin of error.
no wonder....

Let The Market Save Darfur
Guest Editorial By Ron Paul
<snip>
We hear a lot of talk and hand-wringing about human slavery in this part of the world. But it's time to step up and stand for market principles: a free trade in slaves for the Janjaweed will die out eventually because of natural market forces, not government fiat. Just as the Market should be left to decide the cost of wheat, so should the Market decide best how to rid the world of all this ethnic cleansing. I have no doubt that had WW II gone on much longer, even the statist Nazis would have stopped their Auschwitz business, because the economics just made no sense on the face of it.

Though I'm not sure just now what that details of Darfur's Market-solution should look like just now, I'm way too busy, I do think it's clear the janjaweed needs to be incentivized somehow to stop its genocide. But, if the invisible hand decrees that the Darfurians being slaughtered should be wiped out, it's probably for the best.
http://exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=13684

Economist
Yep, politicians suck in general.

The next president doesn't have a chance. Bush has made a huge mess and it will be impossible for any of the intellectual midgets running today to clean it up. Things will probably just get worse whether a Democrat or Republican wins

ShawnD
"Just as the Market should be left to decide the cost of wheat, so should the Market decide best how to rid the world of all this ethnic cleansing."

Why does Ron Paul capitalize the word Market all the time? It's kinda creepy, like when fanatic christians capitalize Him and His. It mUst Be fuN T rAndOmLy CAPitAlIZe sTUFf.

russ_watters
Mentor
It's a very sad & hopeless situation for the US, no doubt about it....
That's the beauty of the American system. It is the worst except for all the others. People expend such enormous emotional energy over things that in the long run are relatively trivial. What do most Americans really have to complain about right now? Their low unemployment rate? Their high incomes? Their freedom?

American "hopelessness" is a position few countries in the world have been able to achieve, but most aspire to.

ShawnD
That's the beauty of the American system. It is the worst except for all the others. People expend such enormous emotional energy over things that in the long run are relatively trivial. What do most Americans really have to complain about right now? Their low unemployment rate? Their high incomes? Their freedom?
Lack of democracy for starters. The president is elected based on electoral votes rather than votes cast by the citizens. A guy who wins 51% of votes can still theoretically lose the election (this has happened 4 times in US history).
edit: Refer to this diagram to see how this works.

edit: Canada has a similar fake-democracy, but ours is called "http://www.canadian-politics.com/elections/elections_fptp.shtml [Broken]"

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BobG
Homework Helper
Lack of democracy for starters. The president is elected based on electoral votes rather than votes cast by the citizens. A guy who wins 51% of votes can still theoretically lose the election (this has happened 4 times in US history).
edit: Refer to this diagram to see how this works.

edit: Canada has a similar fake-democracy, but ours is called "http://www.canadian-politics.com/elections/elections_fptp.shtml [Broken]"
Yet, this is in spite of the US being more democratic than when the Constitution was first appoved. Originally, voters didn't even vote directly for Senators - the state legislatures picked them.

There was a fear that the common citizen might be a bit too common and lack the education and judgement to be given too much power in politics. That might be a bit harsh, but transitioning from completely uneducated to a truly educated voting public has to bridge that dangerous half-educated region where voters have just enough knowledge to make dangerous (and sometimes bizarre) decisions.

What qualifications did people like Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenagger, and Clint Eastwood have for public office? (At least Fred Thompson had a career in politics before he went into acting, even if most of his support is probably because voters confuse Fred Thompson with the character he plays on TV).

I sometimes wonder how any government governing any population larger than a small city can function (and sometimes wonder about city government as well).

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That's the beauty of the American system. It is the worst except for all the others. People expend such enormous emotional energy over things that in the long run are relatively trivial. What do most Americans really have to complain about right now? Their low unemployment rate? Their high incomes? Their freedom?

American "hopelessness" is a position few countries in the world have been able to achieve, but most aspire to.
That's the denial I referred to. The US economy is in shambles, at least if a recent economic update by Canada's Ministry of Finance is anything to go by. That's one reason Canada is making a huge effort to do business with other Pacific-Rim countries & Canada's international trade minister is leading a trade mission to the Middle East soon also. Like Noam Chomsky has said, the Bush government has even managed to alienate Canada, which is one of their most truly impressive "acheivements."

turbo
Gold Member
The "high incomes" and "low unemployment rate" presently being "enjoyed" by the US citizenry is a fiction. When people have been unemployed for so long that they are no longer eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, they are dropped from the tally. They are still unemployed, (or under-employed if they can manage to pick up some seasonal or part-time work to keep their noses above water), but they are no longer counted as unemployed. Unemployment here in Maine is very high - much higher than the official figures. The high price of gasoline and the poor snowfall the last few years has killed our winter tourism, and has hobbled summer tourism, as well. People who switch-hit from running chair lifts in the winter to guiding rafting trips in the summer, and acting as fishing/hunting guides in the fall and cutting firewood in the spring are self-employed in the off-seasons and rarely work for one employer long enough in any year to qualify for unemployment benefits. Their employers can often keep their weekly hours under 40 hours/wk, so even if they work enough weeks, they are considered part-time employees and cannot qualify for unemployment.

As for high wages, wages in this state are stagnant and are rapidly being eroded by rising prices for gas, diesel, heating oil, clothing, durable goods, and food. Except for food (much of which is exempt from sales tax), every increase in prices means that the taxes increase, as well, since they are charged as a percent of the value of the product purchased. Since we don't have universal health care coverage, service industries like Wal-Mart are sucking off us taxpayers by exposing our health-care providers to the uninsured, forcing the cost of their care onto us.

ShawnD
turbo, where you at? Most recent data I can find is on this page:
http://www.maine.gov/spo/economics/economics/medianinc.php

Highest town is "Dennistown plantation" at $85,889 median. Lowest is "Houlton Maliseet Trust Land" at$13,036.
Augusta (the capital) is $29,921. Seems like Maine might be one of the have-not states since the overall USA median is http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html [Broken] Don't feel too bad. It's probably true in most countries, that the bulk of the money is made in a relatively small area. Last edited by a moderator: Gokul43201 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member As far as incomes go, there has been no real improvement over the last 7 years. Median income levels of the bottom 3 quintiles are lower today than (and have been lower every year since) 2000 (inflation adjusted). The median income of the 4th quintile has been stagnant, while that of the highest quintile has gone up by a couple or so points. turbo Gold Member turbo, where you at? Most recent data I can find is on this page: http://www.maine.gov/spo/economics/economics/medianinc.php Highest town is "Dennistown plantation" at$85,889 median. Lowest is "Houlton Maliseet Trust Land" at $13,036. Augusta (the capital) is$29,921.

Seems like Maine might be one of the have-not states since the overall USA median is http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html [Broken]

Don't feel too bad. It's probably true in most countries, that the bulk of the money is made in a relatively small area.
I'm in Solon, ME - $27,266. Maine is very rural and spread-out, with no public transportation outside a couple of the cities, so driving is a must. We also have a long, cold heating season compared to the rest of the country, and we cannot easily escape these costs so Bush's friends are plunging many families into hard times with these rising energy costs. Last edited by a moderator: russ_watters Mentor Lack of democracy for starters. The president is elected based on electoral votes rather than votes cast by the citizens. A guy who wins 51% of votes can still theoretically lose the election (this has happened 4 times in US history). edit: Refer to this diagram to see how this works. edit: Canada has a similar fake-democracy, but ours is called "http://www.canadian-politics.com/elections/elections_fptp.shtml [Broken]" That's a component of our Constitution that exists for a specific and correct reason. And people tend to complain about it mostly when the candidate they voted for loses because of it. No. That's not a "lack of democracy" and it isn't something bad about the US. Last edited by a moderator: russ_watters Mentor That's the denial I referred to. The US economy is in shambles, at least if a recent economic update by Canada's Ministry of Finance is anything to go by. Could you link the report (or at least provide some data that supports your point) instead of just making a baseless claim? You are aware of the unemployment rate and economic growth numbers for the US, right? russ_watters Mentor The "high incomes" and "low unemployment rate" presently being "enjoyed" by the US citizenry is a fiction. When people have been unemployed for so long that they are no longer eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, they are dropped from the tally. They are still unemployed, (or under-employed if they can manage to pick up some seasonal or part-time work to keep their noses above water), but they are no longer counted as unemployed. Two things: 1. Those people do, of course, affect household income numbers, so your reasoning is wrong on income. 2. That aspect of the unemployment statistic is nothing new and the unemployment rate cyclical curve looks no different today than it has in the past, so you would need to provide some good evidence to support your assertion that unemployment is worse now than it has been in the past. russ_watters Mentor As far as incomes go, there has been no real improvement over the last 7 years. Median income levels of the bottom 3 quintiles are lower today than (and have been lower every year since) 2000 (inflation adjusted). The median income of the 4th quintile has been stagnant, while that of the highest quintile has gone up by a couple or so points. "No real improvement over the last 7 years" is basically true but misleading considering that there is an economic cycle and you aren't covering an entire one. You picked the previous peak to compare to the current position (not yet at the next peak). It is, however, true that the down par of the current cycle went longer than the previous. A year ago in that other bash-the-US's-economy thread, I correctly predicted that the 2006 income numbers would show an across the board improvement despite howls of protest from the pessimists, liberals, foreigners, et al. It isn't rocket science. Economic growth was high and unemployment low. So unless the bottom drops out of the economy in the next month, we are almost certain to see another year (this year, I mean) of income growth in the stats that unfortunately won't come out until next August. Unemployment ticked-up slightly, but is still low and economic growth was good. There is a caveat to all this, of course, and that is the the big drop in incomes and jump in unemployment in the last recession ("big" is relative - this ain't France even in the worst of times) came after an unusually large and overblown economic boom. The slow recovery in both incomes and the stock market is a result of that. But the lack of a big recession in 2000-2002, when there really should have been one, is a testament to the fundamental strength of the economy. That's the reason I don't think a recession is likely when the economy invitably does slow down sometime in the next few years. Last edited: Could you link the report (or at least provide some data that supports your point) instead of just making a baseless claim? You are aware of the unemployment rate and economic growth numbers for the US, right? it's worth mentioning that the current Conservative government is usually called "right wing" & "US-friendly": http://www.fin.gc.ca/ec2007/ec/ecc1e.html [Broken] Last edited by a moderator: turbo Gold Member Mainers' incomes are often marginal, and rely on cobbling together seasonal and/or part-time jobs with work-at-home crafting, etc, off-season firewood businesses, and day-laboring on short notice (often for cash). As I pointed out in previous posts, the upsurge in petroleum-based energy products is hitting our state very hard, and this winter could be a nail-biter for lots of low-income families. It will also be a depressing season for those of us who have to pay for the social services to keep these families fed and "reasonably" warm this winter. With the explosion of big-box stores in this state and the resultant explosion of young families running to these low-wage jobs with no health/investment benefits, the economic tide in Maine's towns is turning against the older home-owners. The new families are renting trailers and have to buy kerosene instead of #2 fuel oil that gels in our winter temps, and they have lots of kids clogging our school systems, which are almost entirely supported by property taxes. Older folks on relatively fixed incomes who see their municipal property taxes and state taxes go up year after year to provide subsidies to Wal-Mart and their ilk are being harmed. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071111/ap_on_bi_ge/heating_oil;_ylt=Al58z9qjoLq_KoO3EYwfsmCs0NUE [Broken] Last edited by a moderator: mheslep Gold Member That's the denial I referred to. The US economy is in shambles, at least if a recent economic update by Canada's Ministry of Finance is anything to go by. That's one reason Canada is making a huge effort to do business with other Pacific-Rim countries & Canada's international trade minister is leading a trade mission to the Middle East soon also. Like Noam Chomsky has said, the Bush government has even managed to alienate Canada, which is one of their most truly impressive "acheivements." it's worth mentioning that the current Conservative government is usually called "right wing" & "US-friendly": http://www.fin.gc.ca/ec2007/ec/ecc1e.html [Broken] Your link shows 2ndQ US GDP growth almost 4%, same as Ca. So where do you get 'shambles'? Also, 1st post says we're alienated and 2nd post says Ca govt is US friendly. Note: a big part of that Ca GDP expansion is oil and gas exports. Last edited by a moderator: Here is an article by economics Nobel price winner Joseph Stiglitz about bush legacy. The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup. by Joseph E. Stiglitz December 2007 When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page. I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle “worst president” when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

Remember the Surplus?

The world was a very different place, economically speaking, when George W. Bush took office, in January 2001. During the Roaring 90s, many had believed that the Internet would transform everything. Productivity gains, which had averaged about 1.5 percent a year from the early 1970s through the early 90s, now approached 3 percent. During Bill Clinton’s second term, gains in manufacturing productivity sometimes even surpassed 6 percent. The Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, spoke of a New Economy marked by continued productivity gains as the Internet buried the old ways of doing business. Others went so far as to predict an end to the business cycle. Greenspan worried aloud about how he’d ever be able to manage monetary policy once the nation’s debt was fully paid off.

This tremendous confidence took the Dow Jones index higher and higher. The rich did well, but so did the not-so-rich and even the downright poor. The Clinton years were not an economic Nirvana; as chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers during part of this time, I’m all too aware of mistakes and lost opportunities. The global-trade agreements we pushed through were often unfair to developing countries. We should have invested more in infrastructure, tightened regulation of the securities markets, and taken additional steps to promote energy conservation. We fell short because of politics and lack of money—and also, frankly, because special interests sometimes shaped the agenda more than they should have. But these boom years were the first time since Jimmy Carter that the deficit was under control. And they were the first time since the 1970s that incomes at the bottom grew faster than those at the top—a benchmark worth celebrating.

By the time George W. Bush was sworn in, parts of this bright picture had begun to dim. The tech boom was over. The nasdaq fell 15 percent in the single month of April 2000, and no one knew for sure what effect the collapse of the Internet bubble would have on the real economy. It was a moment ripe for Keynesian economics, a time to prime the pump by spending more money on education, technology, and infrastructure—all of which America desperately needed, and still does, but which the Clinton administration had postponed in its relentless drive to eliminate the deficit. Bill Clinton had left President Bush in an ideal position to pursue such policies. Remember the presidential debates in 2000 between Al Gore and George Bush, and how the two men argued over how to spend America’s anticipated $2.2 trillion budget surplus? The country could well have afforded to ramp up domestic investment in key areas. In fact, doing so would have staved off recession in the short run while spurring growth in the long run. But the Bush administration had its own ideas. The first major economic initiative pursued by the president was a massive tax cut for the rich, enacted in June of 2001. Those with incomes over a million got a tax cut of$18,000—more than 30 times larger than the cut received by the average American. The inequities were compounded by a second tax cut, in 2003, this one skewed even more heavily toward the rich. Together these tax cuts, when fully implemented and if made permanent, mean that in 2012 the average reduction for an American in the bottom 20 percent will be a scant $45, while those with incomes of more than$1 million will see their tax bills reduced by an average of \$162,000.
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/12/bush200712

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As I said before, things looked real good in 1968 also. However, seven years later (before Carter got into office by the way), the inflation was at 12%. There is a delay in consequences in the economy. Right now things look great because deficit spending (both budget deficit and trade deficit) generates jobs and good times. However, like any debt, it has to be paid. The deficit in 1968 was paid in the seventies (no, Cater didn't cause the inflation -- LBJ did). That is what I mean by the mess Bush made. It is the same mess LBJ made, only worse and there is going to be hell to pay.

Your link shows 2ndQ US GDP growth almost 4%, same as Ca. So where do you get 'shambles'? Also, 1st post says we're alienated and 2nd post says Ca govt is US friendly. Note: a big part of that Ca GDP expansion is oil and gas exports.