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I actually started writing this blog entry back on January 27th following a series of triple-digit plunges in the DOW that took the DJIA from 13,261.82 on January 2, 2008 to 11,971.19 on January 27, 2008… just 248 points above the Clinton peak of 11,722.98 on January 14, 2000. Expecting the trend to continue, I prepared to report that the DOW, after seven years of Bush-o-nomics, experienced a Net Gain of Zero… or worse. But instead, seeing the 11K figure threw the Market into “bargain” mode and the Market rebounded to level off in the mid 12,000 range. And there it stayed until just this past week.

As of June 20th, the DOW had lost almost 1000 points in a month (from 13,026 on May 20th to 12,062 on Friday, June 20th). The following Monday, the DOW closed below 12,000 points for the first time since January. The DOW lost another fraction of a point on Monday and an additional 34 points on Tuesday to remain below 12,000 and now stands at just 85 points above the Clinton peak of 2000.

Yes, after seven years of Republican “Bush-o-nomics”, the DJIA has gained a whopping 85 points. Compare 3,271.12 the day Bill Clinton took office on January 20, 1993 to 10,448.40 on June 23, 2000… the same point in Clinton’s second term as Bush is at now. An increase of 7,177 points to Bush’s paltry 85 point gain (a difference of 8440%). All hail Conservative economic policies! Republicans like to misdirect credit for the Clinton economy to the “tech bubble” (which incidentally was the result of that darned “Internets” thing they gave us), but we had a “bubble” under Bush too… the “housing bubble”… spurred on by outrageous and recklessly low interest rates… and the DOW reacted nothing like it did under the Clinton economy.

Republicans used to deride the “Clinton Bull Market”, saying that “if THEY had been in charge, the market would have done even better“. So then the American people voted to put Republicans in charge of BOTH the White House AND the Congress… and the result In seven years? Nearly doubling the National Debt, record unemployment, $4 a gallon gasoline and $136/barrel oil that is pushing the price of everything through the roof, two wars without end and threats of a third on the way (Iran).

This is probably mymostfrequentlycoveredtopic on “Mugsy’s Rap Sheet”: Not JUST the abysmal Bush economy, but how Republicans repeatedly downplayed, dismissed & criticized the economic boom of the Clinton presidency and… to this day… continue to defend the Bush economy, one that has now lost jobs two quarters in a row (with unemployment rising 0.5% to 5.5%… a 20 year record increase),

Record Unemployment

…coupled with a collapsing housing market, and NINE (wildly irresponsible) interest rate cuts since last September that have yet to arrest the sliding DOW.

As I’ve repeated on here manyMANY times before, the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) hit a record high of 11722.98 in January of 2000 before the Republicans running for President… namely George W Bush… talked the economy into a recession because they knew they could not defeat VP Al Gore unless they convinced Americans that the economy “wasn’t as great as everyone thinks”. And as the economic nose-dive became a self-fulfilling prophecy, Governor Bush was more & more able to point and say, “See! I told ya’ so!”. Between January 20 of 2000 and Inauguration Day, January 20 of 2001, the DOW lost 667 points, prompting newly elected President Bush to complain he had been “handed a recession” upon entering office. Compare that to the record peak of 14,000 points last July to Tuesday’s close of 11807, a loss of 2,200 points in just 11 months, to which the Bush Administration denies is evidence of their second Recession in seven years.

As recently as last October, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson was still calling the Bush economy: “the greatest story never told”. Well, he certainly got the “story” part right, though I’d rephrase that as “fairy tale”.

The very basis for the “privatization of Social Security” argument was the meteoric rise of the Stock Market under the Clinton Administration. Republicans argued that “had Americans of been allowed to invest that money in the stock market instead of Social Security, they would of seen an 11%-12% return on their investment instead of the paltry 3% return the government gives them.

But just imagine if the Bushies had gotten their way and all those people had invested half their retirement in the stock market instead of the DOW when Bush took office? After seven years, an 85 point increase amounts to a whopping 0.77% return (77cents for every $100) on your investment (to be fair, I won’t factor in rampant inflation for a Net Loss because inflation affects Social Security as well). The very idea that anyone might still consider Republican policies better for the economy makes my head swim. What world have these people been living on for the past 16 years??? But that hasn’t stopped even good Democrats from continuing to use the phrase “fiscal Conservative” as a positive and “liberal” as a pejorative when it comes to economic issues.

A great example of “fiscal Conservative” solutions: Last Monday, Senator McCain announceda contest to see who can create a better electric car battery the fastest. The winner gets $300 million.

Now, does this sound like a serious energy policy to anyone? $300 million sounds nice, but when McCain is promising the oil companies $4 Billion in tax breaks, just how serious do you think Republicans are about weaning this country off fossil fuels? A “Conservative solution” in all its glory… harnessing the American “competitive spirit” to maybe, someday, produce a technology that maybe, someday, will move this country to use less oil and help the environment. Do you think maybe, someday we need something a bit more serious?

This past months issue of Vanity Fair has a story on the creation of the Internet… a subject I learned well in college in he late ’90’s. It began as a Cold War government project in the 1960’s to maintain communications in the result of a nuclear attack… something “decentralized” that would continue to work even if parts of it were destroyed. It remained a private government program called ARPANet for decades until President Clinton entered office. Reagan and the first President Bush refused to open ARPANet up to the public, considering it a military and strategic advantage. But when the telecoms lobbied Al Gore to open it up, they found a more receptive audience. “The Internet” was born, as was a multi-Trillion dollar industry that many of us could not imagine living without today. While Republicans in the 90’s claimed the Stock Market “would of done better under them”, the truth is there would of been no tech bubble because there would of been no Internet had Republicans of been in charge. The greatest way to create new industries and spur the economy is though large government investments in public programs. We saw it in the 50’s when Eisenhower invested in the Interstate Highways project that promoted the easy spread of commerce between states as well as kick-started the U.S. automotive industry, JFK pushing the U.S. to build a rocket to the Moon… not “maybe, someday“, but by the end of the decade, drew millions of children into becoming scientists & engineers that drove American innovation for decades, followed by unleashing the Internet in the 1990’s, supercharging the U.S. economy and making us a technological leader in the world once again. But Conservatives deplore pouring tax payer dollars into government projects. They’d rather hand all that cash over to private Defense Contractors to build bombs that, if not used, don’t get replaced, meaning their buddies stop making money. So they start wars to use up that stockpile so they can give those big Defense Contractors more tax dollars to build more useless bombs… until the next war they can cook up.

Conservative solutions. Liberal solutions. Conservative economic policies. Liberal economic policies. Never mind what you’ve been trained to believe those terms mean, just look at each Party’s track record. The Conservatives solution to the current economic crisis was to give every American a $300 check. How long did it take them to think that one up? That’s the kind of brilliant economic thinking I’d expect from a third grader. Not the economic policy of the most powerful government on the face of the Earth.
 

Postscript: A nod to the passing of the late great George Carlin. There was no greater spokesperson for Liberal idealism and “rational” thought… at least when it came to politics & religion (neither video Suitable For Work).

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