The President

This is rich by Robert Samuelson. In regards to the “White House Shakeup”.

The administration’s central problem is its policies, not the people executing the policies.

Hmmm, Which policies are that bad? According to Samuelson it’s these.
The Budget
Taxes
Health Care
Energy Policy
Immigration

Ok – the budget he doesn’t really break down, but nondiscretionary spending has been down every year he’s been in office. That leaves the war and security which Samuelson doesn’t want to tackle. Point: Bush

Taxes – Samuelson wants to raise taxes to cover medical dollars. Ie baby boomers and medicare and the prescription drug bill. Isn’t that just a difference of opinion? Bush thinks that lowering taxes will increase revenue. He also thinks that by increasing funding for prescription drugs, the long term affect will be less medical coverage needed. Just a difference of opinion, not bad policy. Point: Bush

Health Care –

We should be preparing for aging baby boomers. Projected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs could expand the federal budget by 30 to 40 percent by 2030. To limit these huge increases — implying much higher taxes or draconian cuts in other programs — we should gradually raise eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare, as well as curb benefits for wealthier retirees. Instead, Bush worsened the outlook by enacting the biggest-ever expansion of Medicare.

Bush gave the old college try on Social Security and has specifically asked for help from Congress for other ideas, since they rejected his. This has been a projected problem for years and years. Not bad policy. See the note on taxes in regards to Medicare rx coverage and how it will potentially affect both Medicare and Medicaid. Again – not bad policy, just different than Samuelson wants. Point Bush

Energy Policy –

On energy, we need a grand compromise between producers and environmentalists. We have sizable natural gas and oil reserves in Alaska and along the offshore continental shelves. Many are now off-limits to exploration and production; they shouldn’t be. But greater conservation is also imperative. In 2005 the United States had 226 million cars and trucks; by 2030 that will rise 46 percent, to 330 million, the Energy Information Administration projects.

Unless these vehicles become vastly more efficient, fuel demand will reach unmanageable levels. Much tougher fuel economy standards and a higher energy tax would move us in the right direction. Bush spent four years on an energy bill that, despite some good provisions, won’t substantially improve either production or conservation.

Um, if passed and followed it would. Point: Bush

Immigration –

Similarly, unless we curb the flow of poor immigrants, we will inexorably expand the nation’s poverty rolls. Bush opposes illegal immigration (who doesn’t?) but would legalize many of the same people by reclassifying them as “guest workers.” The social consequences would be similar. Bush’s notion that most would go home is a fantasy.

Another difference of opinion. Bush thinks that if you give them legitamacy then they can come and go at will and won’t be sticking around because they don’t want to risk yet another illegal border crossing. The idea has merit though I disagree with the philosphy. Not bad policy, just a disgreement. Point: Bush

Shuffling top presidential aides can’t redeem this bleak record. To be fair, all these are hard problems; none has simple solutions. But sensible policies could lessen them all. Barring a miraculous recovery of his political fortunes, Bush has largely missed his chance to provide these. The needed steps are often initially unpopular; raising gas taxes or Medicare’s eligibility age wouldn’t be a crowd-pleaser. A popular president might take the risk. An unpopular president will be less inclined — and less likely to succeed if he does.

……

For this failure, Bush bears most of the blame. He equates his own short-term political interests with the nation’s long-term interests. How else to explain the Medicare drug benefit, a mega-handout intended mainly to win votes among seniors? He seems to mistake stubbornness for judgment and rigidity for principle. How else to explain his obsession with tax cuts, designed to please the Republican base, without any parallel discipline on spending?

Bullshit. First off – it’s not a bleak record. What the heck did Clinton do about any of these things? Or Reagan for that matter. You can’t have a bleak record until there is some major backwards step, and he hasn’t done that. And that whole last paragraph is screwed up. Bush is definitely a guy with strong beliefs in what he’s doing. He doesn’t expect a miracle in a month.

ie, the Prescription drug bill. Oh the horror, the horror. It’s too “hard” for seniors to figure out….there were mixups at the beginning. It should be cancelled. Bull. This is a long term idea who’s time has been talked about since way before Bush took office. And guess what? Seniors are appreciating it. Long term – we don’t know the consequences. But theoretically – health care costs should go down. A pill is cheaper than a heart attack you know.

Please.