Bruce Bartlett, author of the 1981 classic business ook, REAGANOMICS, worked on the Reagan White House staff and served later in the Treasury Department under Bush I. He currently writes for FORTUNE and the Wall Street Journal.
The author's claims are direct and incisive. A stanch Republican, a long time admirer of Ronald Reagan, he documents how Bush II resembles Richard Nixon, not Reagan, by both expanding government and allowing the federal budget to move deep into deficit spending. W's economic policies, he says, are simply incompetent. He is, in Bartlett's words, "an unprincipled opportunist," one who places the goal of vote getting ahead of all others. Bartlett makes the same somber financial predictions as does Kevin Phillips in AMERICAN THEOCRACY, reviewed her recently, that Bush II's inept and self-serving goverance will, with certainty, produce in America economic hell; a major tax increase, most probably a VAT, is inevitable.
Bartlett describes himself as a conservative and a Reaganite. Bush II, he says, is no conservative; he is an imposter, a liberal in the worst sense. He treats only economic matters in this book, but he is also greatly concerned with other Bush failures, the ill-advised preemptive invasion of Iraq, his insistence in "absolute, unquestioning loyalty" among his staff, his avoidance of contrary opinion, his distrust of detailed analysis, his delight in simple "bumper sticker" solutions, and his incredible obsession, reminissent of Richard Nixon, of secrecy. He writes that Bush's oft repeated phrase, "compassionate conservatism," is insulting and should have been "strangled in the cradle."
There is more -- but you will have to read the book, which is aimed primarily at hard core Republicans. People of other political persuasions need to read it too -- Bartlett describes, in detail, just how the tax increases (and hard times) are going to appear -- not many years from now. When they come, and they will, we will all of us suffer.
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