Thursday, February 08, 2007

Someone Put an Adult in Charge, Please!

Pat Buchanan deftly fisks President Bush's recent comments to the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and almost wants to cry.

Said Bush: "Sometimes, nativism, isolationism and protectionism all run hand in hand. We've got to be careful about that in the United States. The 1920s was a period of high tariff, high tax, no immigration. And the lesson of the 20s ought to be a reminder of what is possible for future presidents."

What is President Bush talking about?

Under Harding-Coolidge and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, tariffs were indeed doubled to 38 percent, but imports were only 4 percent of GDP and most imports came in duty-free. And Wilson's wartime income tax rates were not raised, but slashed from Wilson's 72 percent to 25 percent.

When Harding took office, the unemployment rate was 12 percent. When Coolidge went home, it was 3 percent and America was producing 42 percent of the world's manufactures. Between 1922 and 1927, the economy grew at 7 percent a year, the largest peacetime growth ever. They were not called The Roaring Twenties for nothing, Mr. Bush.

As for "nativism," the immigration law of 1924 simply cut back immigration to 160,000 a year, and declared that the racial and ethnic profile of America was fine and should not be altered. Sam Gompers agreed. A. Philip Randolph wanted immigration stopped.

Thanks to that law, by the 1950s, almost all immigrants and their children had been fully assimilated and Americanized. What was wrong with that, Mr. President? Or do you and your Journal acolytes simply not like the country you grew up in?

President Bush and the neocon cheerlearders at the WSJ have made a hideous mockery of America's foreign, trade and immigration policies, with the result that the anti-Americanism is at an all time high even among our traditional allies, the U.S. trade deficit is breaking new records (and fueling China's military expansion) and the U.S. is being so overrun by Latino gangs that the mayor of Los Angeles has appealed to Latin American governments for help. Given this, one finds oneself struck at the obviousness of Buchanan's rhetorical question. Does the President really like the nation he is governing straight into the ground? Based on his policies, the answer seems like a clear "No!"


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