It’s not my fault, unless the issue is GDP growth, in which case I get all the credit

As evidenced by this week’s flap over the Navy forcing the White House to put up the Mission Accomplished sign, this administration is great at buck-passing (Tresy at corrente has an excellent summary). But that only applies to bad news.

Today, CNN has a story headlined, “Bush claims credit for third-quarter boom”:

“That’s [the 7.2%] the fastest growth we’ve had in nearly 20 years,” Bush said in a speech before workers at Central Aluminum Co., in Columbus. “Exports are expanding, investment is rising, housing construction is growing. The tax relief we passed is working.”

Now Bush is right that that’s a big number (even Kash agrees). But at least since the time of Keynes, we’ve known that a massive expansion in net government expenditures (i.e., spending increases and tax cuts) will lead to a short run boom. So it’s a bit of a surprise that jobs haven’t improved yet, and it’s possible that they still will (Democrats be warned: focusing all your criticism on the jobs picture may be risky). Still, this surge is pure-Keynesianism demand-side stimulus, which can be good in the short run, but carries long-run risks (inflation, mostly) that a macroeconomist (Kash? Brad?) can speak to better than I can.