Show Me The Results

Do you recall Bush building the case of the Iraq war on WMDs?  From that moment on Democrats railed that Bush needed to show the WMDs and because he was never able to find them support for the Iraq war slowly dwindled.

Now Obama is setting himself up the same way.  He's setting himself up to be the salvation for all our countries problems.  He's claiming that his stimulus package, cash for clunkers program and such are the answer to all out economies problems.

Just as Democrats, for good reason, demanded to see the proof of the WMDs in Iraq, shouldn't we also demand proof that Obama is living up to what he's claiming?  Shouldn't Democrats be held to the same levels of accountability to the American public that they expect Republicans to be held to?

Of course if we did expect that then we would also look for the proof of who caused the problems in the first place.  We continue to he the Democrats blame the economic problems on Bush but what about the Democratic Congress and Senate that were in control since 2006?

Personally I look to what specific acts or bills were passed that caused the problems.  I don't like blanket blame of saying Bush did it or Congress did it.  When looking at the housing bubble and the banking problems the most blame you can put on Bush is his failure to do anything when it was known the problems were coming but they weren't of his creation.

Let's look at a root cause of the Housing bubble:

“In 1995, a senior Clinton Administration official shared with me the Administration’s targets for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage volumes in low- and moderate-income communities. We had recently reviewed the Administration’s plans to increase government mortgage guarantees — most of these mortgages would also be pooled and sold as securities to investors. Even in 1995, I could see that these plans would create unserviceable debt loads in communities struggling with the falling incomes expected from globalization. Homeowners would default on mortgages while losses on mortgage-backed securities would drain retirement savings from 401(k)s and pension plans. Taxpayers would ultimately be hit with a large bill . . . but insiders would make a bundle. I looked at the official and said that the Administration was planning on issuing more mortgages than there were houses or residents. “Shut up, this is none of your business,” the official snapped back.”

And the banking problem was being discussed as early as 1999 before Bush even took office:

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.


In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

None of that plays well with those who wish to simply blame Bush and play partisan politics so you wont hear them question what really caused the problems.  And it is this same reason you will not hear those on the left really question whether or not Obama's policies are working.  The best you'll see is what we're seeing in coverage for the Cash for Clunkers program.  Just days after it concluded the left were patting themselves on the back declaring it a success.  Really?  A success and you know this already just days after it completed?

The reason they can sit back and claim it is a success is because they only look at the short term.  A lot of people purchased new cars.  By that sole fact, yes you can say it was a success.  Such a success in fact that the government had to go over budget hiring 3 times as many people to process the claims as expected.

The administration has said it has tripled the number of staffers sorting through the paperwork.

The problem with this short term sightedness is that it doesn't look at the effects.  The program's impacts aren't going to be seen in a matter of days or even weeks.  No we wont know what the real impact of the Cash for Clunkers program is for a while.  It's predicted that many of those who purchased cars were looking to do so anyway so while it created a short term spike in automotive sales it's simply taking sales from later months and moving them up so we'll see fewer sales the months after.  It's also predicted that those who otherwise wouldn't have purchased a new car did so by taking money away from other things they would have purchased.  This ripple will hurt the retail industry because now the money that would have went to washers and driers or flat screen TVs and new computers or maybe a new dishwasher or whatever instead went to purchase new cars

Richard Feinberg, a researcher with the Purdue Retail Institute, has the following statement about the program:

"Retailers are still in pain from a very poor 2008 Christmas holiday retail season. After suffering from the worst holiday sales season since 1970, retailers will be facing an even more dismal 2009 in part because of the 'Cash for Clunkers' program," he says.

So like Democrats questioned about the WMDs in Iraq I think it would be prudent for the American public to be asking for long term proof of the results.  Don't be fooled by short term bounces, ask for real long term proof.