Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle â€œworst presidentâ€ when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hooverâ€™s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bushâ€™s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of Americaâ€™s being displaced from its position as the worldâ€™s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.
Some 5.3 million more Americans are living in poverty now than were living in poverty when Bush became president. Americaâ€™s class structure may not have arrived there yet, but itâ€™s heading in the direction of Brazilâ€™s and Mexicoâ€™s.