Joe Stiglitz on the Post-Bush U.S. Economy

Economist and Nobel-winner Joe Stiglitz with a sure-to-be polarizing new article on the post-Bush U.S. economy:

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.

[via Vanity Fair]


  1. John Ryan says:

    Stiglitz is categorically wrong about FDR. This is a president (FDR) who closed banks in a collossal way that dwarfs our own credit crisis, not to mention raising both taxes and interest rates prolonging our depression. Had we not had a world war to enter we would still be in a depression. It is amazing to me that the politicians who mesmerize with soothing words but are bereft of policies that are effective are remembered with fondness and respect.
    As for Bush, it was his ramrodding of tax cuts down Congress’ throat that took our budget deficit down from 4.9% to 1.5%. Go look at the actual IRS tax receipts to prove my point. Now Bush’s drunken spending habits are not acceptable either but his tax policies are those that led us out of a recession and whose policies will be reversed I fear by a new administration that eschews the lessons of history and economics. Even Jack Kennedy understood what Reagan and Bush accomplished with tax cuts. The trick is to keep from spending the counterintuitive windfall.
    Good Luck to our great nation now and beyond 2008 as the socialists like Steglitz drown the media with his 19th century mistaken views.

  2. Does anybody take Stiglitz seriously? He reminds me of Krugman in his willingness to exaggerate and dissemble, all crimes are forgivable in favor of the greater good of limning Bush as evil incarnate. Take, for example, his laughable claim that real income has gone down 12% in 30 years. Either he knows that a worker today gets much more of his income paid for in health benefits, which have ballooned as a proportion of worker income but are left out of some statistics, or he is willfully ignorant. Stiglitz won the Nobel for narrow mathematical claims that combat the efficient market dimwits- who overreach on a solid empirical case by claiming that markets are always and everywhere efficient and that they can mathematically prove it, a claim which any fool who follows the market or AAPL, GOOG, or YHOO can easily debunk- of course the Stockholm socialists are eager to reward Stiglitz for work that panders to their politics. When it comes to the policy arena Stiglitz is probably out of his depth, as that requires careful fact-gathering and precision-balanced arguments that are either beyond him or that would never get printed in Vanity Fair.

  3. Stiglitz has become a full-fledged partisan hack

  4. Josh Stern says:

    Stiglitz’s points about the economic cost of the war in Iraq (including medical care and lost productivity related to the killed and wounded) was more right than wrong at a time when nobody else was talking about it.
    It’s a pointless exercise to rate the worst U.S. president, but politics in the U.S. is clearly some kind of massive market failure. Everybody can see the low quality of the current offer holders, but the only action they seem capable of is to keep pretending that the way to fix the problem is to back one side or the other in a zero sum game. If you are a Democrat, how do you sit with the fact that we haven’t had a primary yet and the only politically viable candidates for the highest executive office are people who have never held executive/CEO type positions at any level of endeavor? If you are Republican, how do you sit with a legacy of 8 years of blind loyalty to the policies of an obviously incompetent, law breaking, administration – is this party looking out for your interests or their own careers?

  5. If anyone wants to know why so many banks are in trouble with loans they should never have made (never mind the S & L crisis of the past) they should wonder about the ‘insidiousness’ of the FDIC created by FDR which eliminated the ‘moral hazard’ for banks that everyone is concerned about today.

  6. Josh Stern for President in 2008.