"Bush's shaky hand" and "Who needs the new economy?"

Readers respond to two articles on the economic downturn.

Published March 20, 2001 8:30PM (EST)

Read "Bush's shaky hand" by Andrew Leonard.

Although it's true that the package offered by the president wasn't specifically designed as a stimulus, cutting taxes right now is the only stimulus available to the president in his arsenal of fiscal weapons (unless he started building roads, which no one is seriously proposing except Dick Gephardt). Monetary changes, like lowering interest rates, are out of his control. In short, the current market upset should not be attributed to Bush, but rather to Alan Greenspan, who raised interest rates way too much last year. Greenspan failed to see the credit crunch last time a Bush was in office, and he has done it again.

-- Erik W. Hansen

The real reason the Democrats oppose a tax cut is that they want a recession. A recession will be a political disaster for Bush and will ensure Democratic victories in the next elections. It's obvious that the Democrats started engineering an economic and stock market decline last summer when it appeared that Bush would win the election.

-- Richard Lewis

The real threat of the rapid declines in technology-oriented companies is that the overall consumption of their relatively well-to-do employees will decline so rapidly as to be lost in the other economic noise.

As we have seen, this is now impacting even the "old economy" stalwarts. Meanwhile, Europe is facing a difficult and perhaps unmanageable economic catastrophe in its agricultural economy, one that could also further disrupt our declining economic base. And Japan continues to suffer from the same economic woes its political managers have failed for decades to repair.

I find this all to be remarkably similar to the efforts of Republicans in 1998 to derail the "Clinton economy" with the impeachment proceedings. Alan Greenspan saw then what was happening and quickly reversed his previous inaction with a sharp loosening of interest rates. This time he may already be too late.

-- Randall Hofland

Any thinking person can clearly see that the best way to help the country and ease our tax burden is to use whatever surplus there is to reduce the national debt, thereby easing the taxes necessary to pay off the high interest on this debt. This measure would help all the citizens.

Undoubtedly this "tax cut" Bush is so anxious to pass is a payoff for some wealthy persons and corporations that supported his campaign.

-- Floy Brent

Read "Who needs the new economy?" by Herman Schwartz and Aida Hozic.

The idea that the nation's current economic problems, and the accompanying stock market collapse, are President Bush's fault is laughable. These economic problems clearly had their start far before Bush ever took office. Couldn't [the authors] have quoted even a few people with a viewpoint more sympathetic to President Bush?

-- Scott Rodrian

It's a bit clichéd for an author to claim that the Republican Party is the party of the old economy and the Democrats are the future. Take a look at Opensecrets.org and you can see that both labor and lawyers contributed heavily in favor of the Democrats, and "backward" industries such as healthcare contributed to the Republicans. And the No. 1 technology contributor, Microsoft, is hardly an old-economy firm, and you know where its money went.

The fundamental problem is primarily not one of political ideology but of timing. Just as the biotechnology bubble burst, so did the dot-com one. However, taking rising energy prices, plus global instability (Japan and Europe), plus tightening rates with it, led investors to a flight to safety that is by definition old economy.

The author is right in one important regard, though: No matter which party is at the wheel, it'll manage to screw both economies up.

-- John Powell

The steam started to leave the dot-com engine when the Clinton Department of Justice got its evisceration of Microsoft to please supporters at Oracle and Netscape. The decline picked up momentum when Al Gore threw the country into six weeks of uncertainty in his attempt to steal the election with cherry-picked recounts. While there may be an element of uncertainty about Bush's ability to lead us out that is fueling the current free fall, it's ridiculous, and so typically Salon, to blame his alleged policies for the entirety of the market slide.

-- John Powell

A cooling-off period where the information technology world gets some perspective and realigns its goals with the goals of Middle America sounds like a good thing to me. As long as Bush doesn't put "the future on hold," I, and others like me, will be happy.

-- Terence Crocker

By Salon Staff

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