The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Bush can still forge presidential legacy

Viewpoint by David Boyd/reporter

Perhaps in trying to best his father’s domestic record and not be seen as the international weakling some labeled Clinton, our current president made his well-chronicled missteps.

Now, right or wrong, he has a worldwide reputation as a warmonger, and that impression may be impossible to reverse. But with most of the world’s economy following America’s down the drain, he still has a chance to salvage his legacy as a domestic and economic leader.

As presidential candidates from both parties gave the economy top billing over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many pointed fingers at the current administration. If these candidates could fix the nation’s economic woes, why couldn’t the guy who already has the job? Apparently, Bush heard the criticism and decided to act, painting Democrats into a corner by unveiling a brash economic stimulus package headlined by a $600 refund check for most lower- and middle-class taxpayers.

Although some congressional leaders attempted to revise the proposal for various reasons, it is likely to be endorsed by a majority of Congress and most if not all of the candidates. After all, who wants to be known as the candidate opposed to giving money back to tax-paying voters?

While macroeconomists may argue about the long-term effects of the tax cuts and the related shortages in government coffers, if history repeats itself, Bush’s tax rebate may help ease the pain of our impending recession.

Only months into his first term, Bush took steps to fight the short recession of 2001 with a tax refund averaging $300 per person. The idea then was to have the recipients loosen their purse strings a little and get back into a habit of spending. 

The policy mostly worked as intended when consumers awoke in mass from their post dot-com bust hibernation and reentered the markets. That recession ended by some estimates as early as November 2001. Perhaps these current rebates can succeed too.

Although the economy has had its ups and downs since then and never replicated the unparalleled growth of the 1990s, things were looking decent until the perfect storm of rising fuel prices, collapsing housing markets and the subprime loan fiascoes seemed to point our compass toward a recession.

Any arguments over whether Bush could have helped prevent any of this mess are debates for another time and place.

Whether he did the right thing for the right reason or even if he did the right thing for the wrong reasons, President Bush took steps over the last two weeks to bolster the failing economy. Is this a case of better late than never? We will see.

Our economy, and perhaps the world economy, depends on the success of Bush’s economic stimulus package. His legacy as president may hinge on it too.

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