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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bartlett Sounding Like Another Krugman

Economist Bruce Bartlett, formerly a very interesting analyst, has taken Andrew Sullivan pills and become very uninteresting. Both Bartlett and Sullivan share a dislike towards the President's policies after being partisan's of Bush's early administration and policies. Sullivan discarded everything Bush over "the gay rights" issue. Now, to Sullivan anything Bush does is grossly wrong and his web site will provide you up to the minute word on gay marriage and the torture of Islamic terrorists. While I was slightly surprised at Sullivan (and what do I know), who still claims to be a free market proponent, the greater shock is with Bartlett's conversion to anti-Bushism.

Bartlett had rarely published a snoozer editorial like today's until his latest book, Impostor : How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.

There is no question that spending is a problem created by all parties in DC and most notably the President deserves much of the credit by failing to veto a single spending bill. While Bush has been steadfast and true (and correct in my mind) on fighting terrorism, his failures domestically have been largely due to political considerations---trying to buy votes for himself or the party. Such pandering is the life of a politician. And an intellectually honest economist should find a lot wrong with Bush's record.

But there is so much right, that Bartlett's omissions of such great news does not grant his latest columns much credibility.

This was something Bartlett wrote today:

If people have jobs, if their wages are rising, if they can pay for the things they need and have a little left over to invest, then they are happy about the economy. If they are unemployed or fear layoffs, if their wages are stagnating and they are wary of losing benefits, and they are having to go into debt rather than save for the future, then they are going to be unhappy about the economy no matter how great the data are or how hard the White House and Treasury hype the numbers.

I can always find such deep economic analysis from Krugman.

Bruce, besides hearing how tariffs harm our country, how anti-trust litigation brought by the administration harms our competitive abilities, how boondoggles like Medicare siphon too much from our vibrant economy and our children's future, how the failure to continue pushing for Social Security reform was a show of political weakness when change is so critical, I also want to know how the economy can improve. I want to know how the spending crowds out growth. I want to know how the tax cuts deserve credit for our booming economy as compared to the relative statistics from other countries.

Bartlett's new song has gotten boring quickly. Yes, McCartney issued many dogs during his solo career. But he remains a "must hear" to this day. Do not become another Andrew Sullivan. You will become just another carper. We need your analysis

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