Having listened to Tony Blair’s audiobook a couple of weeks back, I thought I’d check out what George Bush had to say for himself. Not a lot as it turned out. Whilst there was no confession or plea for forgiveness from Blair, there was a hint of remorse and regret, if only in the style, context and reflection contained within the audible pages. Rather than in the words themselves. And it was fun listening to him giving Gordon Brown so many snide digs.
I’ve never subscribed to the ‘George Bush is stupid’ mantra. Inarticulate, yes. Eloquent, no. Stupid? No. Too stupid to be president? Hmmm. Questionable, I guess. Stupidity is sometimes hard to qualify, quantify and define. But I did think this book might, just might, be his opportunity to show the world he is something of a thinker. It was an opportunity wasted. The best way I can think of to describe this literary effort is ‘dumbed down’.
I can’t be bothered to go into
Fox News George Bush’s account of the Iraq war. Nothing new, unexpected or revelationary there. His version of the economic crises from 2007 to the end of his presidency were interesting. There’s so much I could say regards the economy. I’d like to rant on a bit about how the US, UK and other economies have been placed in a position where we are effectively held hostage by the Chinese. I like globalisation and free trade.
I’d like other countries industries to be invited to compete with our own. Fairly, on the basis of producing quality products that meet demand, that are produced by companies paying a fair wage for a fair days work. As opposed to industries that compete by chaining their employees to their workstations, throwing them peanuts now and again in lieu of wages. In which case, there is nothing wrong with ‘protectionist’ policies.
But Bush didn’t really delve into that. He did mention his surprise at the global economy tanking so badly. How many times have I heard ‘experts’ claim to have been totally taken by surprise with the recession? I have noticed that the experts who were surprised tended to be the ones in charge. There were plenty of people on record with documented warnings of an imminent economic meltdown. I can’t claim to be an expert, and I can’t claim to have foreseen exactly how the crises unfolded, but neither was I surprised. I had, if I might be so bold to claim, predicted a bust. Way back in 2003, maybe before.
It was ever so simple, I thought. I’ll take a couple of very visible situations which I felt were always going to have some financial hurt at some stage. Housing first. I had so many friends rubbing their hands with glee as house prices rose, making them richer. I tried to explain that the rises were actually making them poorer. But I don’t think I got through. They just knew that their homes had been purchased for £100,000 and were now valued at £175,000. So they were richer.
That might be the case if they were about to downsize or emigrate. But they weren’t. They were young and looking to move up the property ladder. Fact is, if they stayed where they were, the housing market, valuations et al made absolutely no difference to them whatsoever. You have to sell to make. If they sold, to move up the property ladder, they’d find that the next rung up had increased in value too. Whereas once there was a £50,000 difference between their rung and the next one, now it was £75,000. They just became £25,000 worse off.
On top of that, increased property and land prices drives up business costs, and they’re paying more for everything. That was largely obscured by the new cheap imports bringing prices down in reality, but the factor remains. And sooner or later, the housing market, inflated not only by demand, but by artificial means too, would come back down to earth. One way or another. A growing housing market needs first time buyers, and once they have been priced out of the game, then there is going to be a problem.
Then there was credit. Loads of it. Didn’t anyone else notice that everyone was borrowing, through mortgages, loans, credit cards etc, vast amounts? It had to be either paid off or written off sooner or later. The figures in the UK were clear long before the crises. The growth of the economy of the previous decade had largely been due to credit. Put the housing markets, the credit bubbles, artificial globalization and a war of two in the East into the cooking pot, add a pinch of currency manipulation, a dash of short sighted greed and…well, did not one of the experts really see what was coming?
Ah well. There’s always Plan B. Blame it on the black guy.