Looking For Keynes in All the Wrong Places

April 11th, 2012 at 8:04 am

From this AMs WaPo, a former president says the focus right now should be on growth, not deficit reduction:

[George W.] Bush also seemed to suggest that, as the country climbs out of a recession, the focus on the budget deficit should take a back seat to the focus on growing the economy.

“Most of the political debate — and I guess rightly so — is about our balance sheet,” Bush said. “But we believe that, in order to solve the balance sheet, first and foremost, you’ve got to grow the private sector. And therefore, the focus ought to be on private-sector growth.”

Those comments seem to fly in the face of the new tea party-influenced Republican Party, which has been pushing the debate more towards spending cuts.

But Bush said a bigger economy would eventually eclipse the exploding national debt.

This same fellow, a few weeks back, quite correctly reflected on the importance of the government’s interventions to save GM and Chrysler.

He also, in this morning’s article, argues in favor of making his eponymous tax cuts permanent, so we’re not totally on the same page.  But these days, when prominent R’s stand up to the deeply damaging economics of the rest of their party, it’s notable and praiseworthy.


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7 comments in reply to "Looking For Keynes in All the Wrong Places"

  1. foosion says:

    The Rs have decided that Bush’s problem was that he wasn’t conservative enough.

    Remember, conservative principles can’t be wrong, they can only be betrayed by those without sufficient will to do the right thing.

  2. D. C. Sessions says:

    This is a very cleaver move that takes advantage of Bush’s negative approval rating to discredit the auto bailout and anything resembling sensible economic policy.

  3. Bumpa says:

    Is this the same George W. Bush that I would usually spell “B#%H” ?

    And as for the Republican Party: I believe that they’ve finally gone so far off to the Right that people are waking up to the realization the the GOP is now irrelevant, and can no longer meet the needs of either the country or its citizens.
    That in order to survive beyond November’s election, it MUST pull back, denounce the extreme “CONSERVATIVE AT ALL COSTS” agenda it has been following since 1980, and reorganize its priorities.

  4. Tyler says:

    Former President Bush is absolutely right that we should be focused on growing the economy. Bravo, Mr. Bush. If your father had the same philosophy back in the early 90s, he might have been reelected in ’92. Instead he focused on deficit reduction, which caused a recession, which caused Bill Clinton’s election.

    If President Obama wants a great legacy, he should focus on getting us out of this depression, not deficit reduction.

  5. RMGHicks says:

    To be honest, I never thought I would see a republican party that had moved to the RIGHT of “W”. But looking back on his policies – he never DID cut entitlements. The emphasis had always been generating more money for “job creators” to grow the economy. We all know how that turned out…But the point here is that the right has actually moved right of “W” and there is “compassionate conservatism” touted by the 41 & 43 is a thing of the past.

    Yesterday, I happened to watch Hardball where Stephen Moore debated Robert Reich. Moore didn’t even try to argue fairness in the Ryan budget. He tried to “spin” it towards “growth and prosperity” claiming that the Bush tax cuts created the wonderful economy of 2003-2007. Seriously? It was anemic at best for all but the top 1%. But it seems as though they aren’t even trying to argue fairness.

  6. Michael says:

    Yet more policy continuity from Bush and Obama. When is Obama going to govern to Bush’s left?

  7. Will says:

    Just as Goldman Sachs and the other banks hire Keynesians to do their economic modeling, so do the serious Republicans hire Greg Mankiw to plausibly justify all of the tax cutting and union busting they were going to do anyway.