Realistically, it’s almost impossible to believe that Bush is some kind of Manchurian President, intentionally screwing up and deliberately undermining the United States. But sometimes, it’s hard not to wonder. Dan Froomkin, for example, did a nice job today describing Bush’s disastrous dollar policy.
President Bush doesn’t talk about the dollar much, but when he does, he’s got exactly one thing to say about it: “We have a strong dollar policy.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that Bush’s “strong dollar policy” is driving the greenback into the ground.
The dollar is hitting record lows this week amidst fears that the mortgage-market meltdown will spread to other parts of the economy and as the Chinese make noise about moving more of their investments into euros. But it is the underlying dynamics of the American economy — continued massive trade deficits and a whopping national debt — that have put the dollar in such a precarious position.
A true strong dollar policy, aimed at increasing the confidence of international investors, would require Bush to do a bunch of things he doesn’t want to do. For instance, he would have to stop borrowing so much money to fund his tax cuts and his wars. He would need to encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, rather than depend on it to keep propping up the domestic economy by decreasing them. That sort of thing.
Instead, Bush just offers the strong-dollar line, without specifics, and moves on.
If Bush were a Manchurian President he’d, well, probably do exactly this.