David R. Henderson  

Bush Admits His Errors

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In a speech last week, former President George W. Bush admitted that he had erred in imposing new layers of regulation on the U.S. economy. Here's the news story:

Former President George W. Bush, outlining plans for a new public policy institute, on Thursday said America must fight the temptation to allow the federal government to take control of the private sector, declaring that too much government intervention will squelch economic recovery and expansion.
"History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much," said Mr. Bush

Mr. Bush went on to express his regret at nationalizing airport safety, carrying out illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens, raiding medical marijuana clinics, bailing out General Motors, AIG and other companies, and socializing prescription drugs for the elderly.

Of course, this last paragraph is a joke. So is Bush.


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COMMENTS (17 to date)
RL writes:

I saw a news headline that said, "Bush Warns of Danger of Big Government" and started laughing uncontrollably.

I look forward to the following headlines as well:

Gore Claims Science "Not All In" on Global Warming

Pelosi Warns Against Limited Economic Understanding of Congress

Hitler Speaks Out Against Anti-Semitism

eric mcfadden writes:

How about "Bush Regrets Vanity War in Iraq"?

Constant writes:

And because of the anti-capitalist policies of Bush, another joke is the claim that the Republican Party has become increasingly conservative and needs to get much more liberal. Continuing to claim this after the McCain nomination is another joke, on a par with the joke that our health care system's and general economy's problems demonstrate the failure of the free market.

Les writes:

I note the sneers posted about George Bush. I am no admirer of Bush or Obama.

But I must give credit to Obama for a truly great achievement: namely in retrospect making George Bush look good!

David R. Henderson writes:

RL,
Good ones.
Les,
I agree. I miss Bush. And when Bush was prez, I missed Clinton. And when Clinton was prez, oh, wait a minute, I liked Clinton better than first Bush.
David

MikeDC writes:

Meh. I'm going to suck it up and say

1. Airport security (along with much of the domestic agenda post-9/11) was a deal with the Democrats.

We can tell the bad (McCubbins) divided government story just here. Basically, to get the Dems to go along with foreign policy goals, he horse traded on domestic goals (Dems: If you want to have beefed up airport security, you have to nationalize them).

2. I don't see the wiretapping programs as a major and unwarranted infringement.

3. I think the AIG bailout was probably necessary.

4. The argument has been made, fairly coherently, by guys like Cowen, that Medicare D was a decent compromise that resulted in a slowing of non-D Medicare growth.

dWj writes:

It's worth noting that Bush's ability to talk a good game is not new. I bought it in 2000.

E. Barandiaran writes:

I'm writing neither to defend Bush nor to denounce Obama. My point is the one I learnt in Econ 101 almost 50 years ago: what's the alternative? If you don't like a candidate or the president, ask yourself why you were not a candidate or the president (where I come from you can be president without being a candidate). At some point you had to choose between Bush and Gore, Bush and Kerry, and Obama and McCain--ex post maybe you regret your choices but I'm sure that what you do regret is that the alternatives to Bush were Gore and Kerry and the alternative to Obama was McCain. But what did you do to have other alternatives? In Buenos Aires, we like to say "a llorar a la iglesia"--to cry, go to church.

ThomasL writes:

"... raiding medical marijuana clinics ..."

Why must libertarians always bring up marijuana? Every time, no matter what the issue. I remember watching a Reason.tv spot ostensibly on TARP last year that spent more time talking about marijuana than about TARP.

Of all the things in your list, I really don't see that one being in the same league as the others.

Sure, in the medicinal sense it is a drug, and denying a drug to people that need it is bad, but I'd rather rail against the FDA and the thousands of drugs it prevents people from having than focus endlessly on marijuana.

Dr. T writes:

Bush probably is sincere in recanting some of his economic policy errors. Too bad it took a national economic crisis to provide him with a reality check.

The draftees of our Constitution could not possibly have expected a massive federal government. In their time, any well-educated, land- or business-owing man (the only ones who could run for office) had enough knowledge and experience to be President. I believe we need to amend the Constitution such than presidential candidates must pass oral examinations on international relations, warfare, economics, administration, the Constitution, and general principles of law. The federal government is "too big to fail" and needs competent Presidents.

Rick Caird writes:

I find it strange that David Henderson would simply claim Bush was a "joke". Thomas Sowell would liken Henderson to a "Vision of the Anointed". Like the "anointed" Henderson sees no need to actually support his claim but merely hurls it down as "pearls before swine".

I think the less of Henderson for this post.

Rick

Douglass Holmes writes:

Medicare Part D? What's that? I thought that NOTHING was done for health care during the eight years of President Bush.

David R. Henderson writes:

Rick Caird,
Actually, I did support my claim, in abbreviated form.
Best,
David

Gordon Clason writes:

Calling President Bush a "joke", is one of those comments that is more a tautology than informative. It equally applies to the entire federal government.

As Will Rogers said, "If I studied all my life, I couldn't think up half the number of funny things passed in one session of congress."

And again, "Compared to them I’m an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is that they don’t hurt anybody. You can say they’re not funny or they’re terrible or they’re good or whatever it is, but they don’t do no harm. But with Congress—every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke."

Mike Moffatt writes:

I'm sorry I ever doubted you. :)

- Mike

Brittany writes:

I agree with Bush’s statement about how too much government involvement impedes on the success of the country. I think we all appreciate his apology, but everyone makes mistakes and being in a important decision making role that heads the country puts a lot of pressure on his shoulders and he gets blamed for the general government’s decisions (remember checks and balances, he is not the only one making the decisions). Personally, I think that when he made decisions about the War in Iraq, 9/11, and national security he had the best interests of the country in mind; just like your parents have your best interests in mind when they make decisions that you don’t agree with. I think that we overanalyze and criticize everything that every President does and compare them to past and present President’s. Each time period is different and personally I think that Bush was bombarded with misfortune and hard times throughout his term and that him and his team did the best that they could for the country at the time. Going back to the main point about government control, I think that Democrats abuse this right. They try to increase government control in many areas including: universal healthcare and government bailouts. Overall, all this hype about Obama is going to die down and I think that the people will realize that he makes mistakes in hard times just like Bush did.

Sheldon Richman writes:

I can't think of anything we need less than a public policy institute calling for smaller government set up by George W. Bush. That is the joke -- and a bad one, indeed. Hasn't he done enough damage?

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