GW – A Look At the Coming Year

I don’t think many people can argue GW has had a succesful presidency. This isn’t a partisan statement – I remember the Reagan, GHW Bush, and Clinton administrations, and this one is simply qualitatively different from those.

The administration’s early promises to pay down the federal debt have been long forgotten. The proud speeches about the “ownership economy” haven’t been heard in years. Despite massive, perhaps unprecedented help from the Fed, and a compliant Congress which gave him just about everything he wanted, the fastest year of growth in real GDP under GW was 3.6%. To give you an idea how inadequate that is, under half the Presidents following the 1929 crash, FDR, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, the median annual real growth was faster than that. GW’s best year would have been sub-par for half the Presidents in the sample! If there’s an economic success story that GW will leave behind, its hard to imagine what it could be.

But economics isn’t everything. Osama hasn’t been captured, dead or alive, though we do catch a glimpse on the occasional video. Afghanistan isn’t going as promised, and neither is Iraq. And then there’s diplomacy, about which the less said, the better.

So, with a year to go, thinking in terms of GW and his administration, what do you think will be the biggest successes and failures of the coming year?