Bush good for business?
   200 top B-school profs think otherwise

GWB (HBS ’76) gets a retroactive F.

Note these are business school professors, not pointy-headed liberal academic economists. (Joseph Stiglitz, who is pointy-headed enough to have gotten the Economics Nobel in 2001, provides a sample of what those folks think.)

Purple passages below. (Emphasis added.)

Full text and signers list here.

As professors of economics and business, we are concerned that U.S. economic policy has taken a dangerous turn under your stewardship. Nearly every major economic indicator has deteriorated since you took office in January 2001…

Bankruptcies are up sharply, as is our dependence on foreign capital to finance an exploding current account deficit…The percentage of Americans in poverty has increased, real median income has declined, and income inequality has grown.

The data make clear that your policy of slashing taxes — primarily for those at the upper reaches of the income distribution — has not worked. The fiscal reversal that has taken place under your leadership is so extreme that it would have been unimaginable just a few years ago … if transfers from the Social Security trust fund are excluded, the federal deficit is … well in excess of a half a trillion dollars …this year alone.

Although some members of your administration have suggested that the mountain of new debt accumulated on your watch is mainly the consequence of 9-11 and the war on terror, budget experts know that this is simply false.

Your economic policies have played a significant role in driving this fiscal collapse. And the economic proposals you have suggested for a potential second term — from diverting Social Security contributions into private accounts to making the recent tax cuts permanent — only promise to exacerbate the crisis by further narrowing the federal revenue base …

If your economic advisers are telling you that these deficits can be defeated through further reductions in tax rates, then you need new advisers. More robust economic growth could certainly help, but nearly every one of your administration’s economic forecasts — both before and after 9-11 — has proved overly optimistic.

Expenditure cuts could be part of the answer, but your record so far has been one of increasing expenditures, not reducing them… the income gap between the most affluent Americans and everyone else has widened…real household incomes have dropped across the board since you took office

Sensible and farsighted economic management requires true discipline, compassion, and courage — not just slogans…ignoring the fiscal crisis that has taken hold during your presidency … could ultimately prove disastrous.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com