When he took office in 2001, George W. Bush inherited the strongest economy in American history. He inherited the largest federal budget surplus in American history -- and the prospect of paying off the entire national debt in just eight years. He inherited a strong dollar and sound fiscal policy. He inherited a nation whose economy was so strong that commentators who just a decade before were predicting American decline were now complaining about American dominance. And yet, Dubya blew it. Squandered everything he'd inherited from President Clinton. We thought if Junior was good at anything, it was inheriting things. It's Still the Economy, Stupid is the story of how America's CEO -- our first MBA president -- has trashed our economy. It shows: * How he wasted the surplus on massive tax cuts for the hyper-rich. * How he talked down the economy for his short-term political gain, then passed an economic program that has put 1.8 million Americans out of work and cost investors $4.4 trillion. * How he abandoned his free-trade rhetoric to adopt protectionist tariffs, effectively raising taxes on consumers.
* How he walked away from needed investments in education, training, and all the things that make us smarter, safer, and stronger economically. * How he plans to go on from here to cripple Social Security and to allow the privileged to avoid even more taxes. It makes you wonder: What do they teach you at Harvard Business School?
Paul Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, which carried thirty-three states and made Bill Clinton the first Democrat to win the White House in sixteen years. He served as counselor to the president in the Clinton White House, where he coordinated policy, politics, and communications. He is the author of four books, including Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush; It's Still the Economy, Stupid; and Buck Up, Suck Up...and Come Back When You Foul Up (with James Carville). Begala is a CNN political commentator and a research professor of public policy at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute. Paul earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas, where he was student body president. He and his wife live quietly in Virginia with their four boys and a German shepherd. (Okay, so they don't live too quietly.)