There's an old
Monty Python sketch
in which a "Face the Press" interviewer grills the Minister for Home Affairs:
"You claimed that you would build 88,000 million, billion houses a year in the Greater London area alone. In fact, you've built only three in the last fifteen years. Are you a bit disappointed with this result?"
Given some of the recent pronouncements of his campaign, it's easy to imagine President Jeb Bush being subjected to similar shaming. After all, Jeb has been promising for months that if elected he will deliver four percent annual economic growth
for the American people. As it turns out, since Ike was in the White House only two presidents—Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson—averaged at least 4 percent GDP growth over their tenures. And no President named Bush
ever reached that mark even once in 12 years.
Nevertheless, Reuters last week offered a fawning story ("How an off-the-cuff remark shaped Jeb Bush's economic vision for U.S.") about how Jeb came up with that magical target, if not any details on how he might hit it:
There were no fancy economic models or forecasts when former Florida Governor Jeb Bush first tossed out the idea that 4 percent annual growth should be the overarching goal for the U.S. economy.
But what started as a casual suggestion during a 2010 conference call with advisers to the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy center in Dallas, has now become the central economic idea of Bush's developing run for the White House.
Last Thursday, Jeb explained to a New Hampshire audience the birth of his sound bite:
"It's a nice round number. It's double the growth that we are growing at. It's not just an aspiration. It's doable."
Four is a nice round number. (It's also an even number and the square of two.) But so far, Bush has offered neither a plan for how he'll achieve it nor a reason why Americans should trust anyone named Bush to run the economy at all.
Head below the fold for more Bush strategy.
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