I was glad that George W. Bush had disappeared from our view. What good has ever come from his hanging around, saying crazy things, provoking his idiotic champions into nauseating huzzahs and back-slapping?
Absolutely nothing. Why should this week be any different?
One of the champions, NewsBusters’ Geoffrey Dickens, couldn’t wait to illustrate how Bush embarrassed Matt Lauer, schooling him on the economy. Oh, the potential ironies:
George W. Bush Delivers a Basic Economics Lesson to Matt Lauer
By Geoffrey Dickens | November 10, 2010 | 12:04
. . it was Lauer’s questions about Bush’s tax policy where he revealed his bias . . Bush shot back with a basic economics lesson for the Today co-anchor, as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: There’s a heated debate, right now over whether we should continue in this country with your tax policies. They call them the Bush tax cuts. Give me your best argument for continuing those tax cuts . .
BUSH: Here’s, here’s the deal. Most new jobs are created by small businesses. Many small businesses pay tax at the individual income tax level because of how the are organized. For example, sub chapter S corporations or limited partnerships. Therefore, if you raise the top rate you’re taxing job creators.
The ‘precious job creators at the top of the tax brackets’ meme is a familiar and weak Republican gambit. Only about 3% of all the people who report business income from ‘S’ corps, partnerships and the like fall into the top brackets. Granted, they may make a lot of small and medium-business money, but they’re also far less likely to be squeezed by a 3% tax hike to the point of firing people. If they report profits of $400,000 as income, the resultant tax hike is a whopping $6000. On $1,000,000, it’s $24,000.
I think we just did more number-crunching there than Bush has done in his entire life. More:
Before the question on taxes Lauer wanted to know how much “blame” Bush was willing to give himself for the economic meltdown and argued that “some would say you didn’t call enough for regulation” to which Bush fired back his administration did its best to prevent the housing crisis by calling for better oversight, as he told Lauer: “The housing bubble was fueled by government policy” which was the result of “Congress refusing to regulate Fannie and Freddie.”
It’s one thing to be stupid, to realize you screwed up but you still don’t know exactly how. That’s George W. Bush to begin with, who neither realized nor understood that the livelihoods of Americans were being destroyed in a bitterly tragic, historic way. It’s quite another thing to lie outright about how it all happened.
Fannie and Freddie were the willing victims of it all. It was the $1.5 trillion in reckless sub-prime mortgages that killed the housing, investment and banking sectors, thus killing the larger economy. Who wrote, marketed and aggressively pursued these instruments of death? Not Freddie and Fannie, not a single one.
It was the private sector that created the sub-prime loan glut as fodder for mortgage-backed securities. Those private players that made out like mega-bandits during the bubble, they’re your criminals. A two year old study by the Federal Reserve tells the tale:
The study identifies five causes of the subprime meltdown:
–Convoluted loan products that consumers didn’t understand.
–Credit ratings that didn’t do a good job highlighting the risks contained in subprime-backed securities.
–Lack of incentives for institutional investors to do their own research (they just relied on the credit ratings).
–Predatory lending and borrowing (which I think means fraud perpetrated by borrowers).
–Significant errors in the models used by credit rating agencies to assess subprime-backed securities.
You’ll note in the Fed’s five causes that there’s some culpability for lenders, borrowers, investors and credit raters. There’s no blame for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae which had little or nothing to do with the entire situation.
. . until you ask the former President of the United States, whose inattention and impotence allowed the wrenching catastrophe to occur. Then it’s Fannie’s and Freddie’s fault, sure. Unfortunately, those two won’t get the chance to defend themselves in an interview with Matt Lauer.