Defeatism on the economy

It’s not how badly the economy is doing so much as how satisfied the President seems to be with bad performance.

It turns out that President Bush, who does not believe that America can win the war on terror, is a defeatist on the economy as well. It’s not so much that the economy has done badly on his watch: it’s that he seems to be fully satisfied with how badly it’s done.

If Mr. Bush thinks an unemployent rate of 5.5% shows that his economic policies are “working,” maybe he hasn’t heard enough from Americans who aren’t. Of course he didn’t mention falling real wages and rising poverty rates.

Mr. Bush’s attitude is fundamentally a pessimistic one. I think we need an optimistic President instead, who won’t mistake failure for success.

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: