Magazine article Management Today

STATE OF THE UNION: The Heavyweights in Bush's Regime Are CEO Types - but the Cult of the CEO Is Now about as Popular as the Falun Gong in Chinese Government Circles

Magazine article Management Today

STATE OF THE UNION: The Heavyweights in Bush's Regime Are CEO Types - but the Cult of the CEO Is Now about as Popular as the Falun Gong in Chinese Government Circles

Article excerpt

The Bush family has always had bad timing. George Senior took office as the '80s boom was ending, and paid for voters' economic discontent; George W is equally vulnerable.

Forget about the War on Terror; his father had the Gulf War, and that failed to distract American voters from their pocketbook concerns. Forget about George W's high approval ratings; his father's slipped quickly once Americans no longer felt the need to display national unity. George W will likely lose the next presidential election.

To be sure, the parallels are far from exact. The first Bush recession pushed unemployment to 8%; this one has been much milder. The losers are not so much the middle Americans who lost their jobs in the last recession, but the wealthy professionals who are watching the erosion of their retirement plans and mutual fund holdings. Bush Senior paid little attention to domestic policy, or to his conservative base; his son has learned this lesson, and has given more influence to the vote-grubbing political consultants.

However, history is repeating itself - if not word-for-word. Bush II may win his war, if that is possible against an enemy so intangible, but lose the peace.

Come 2004, voters will be looking for someone to punish for their investment losses, and Bush is the most obvious target.

Democrats are already starting to take aim. Paul Krugman writes about Crony Capitalism, USA. Al Gore digs out his populist playbook to call for a government for the people, not the powerful.

It is not entirely fair, of course. George Bush inherited an economy already going into recession. The spectacular corporate failures - Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, ImClone - had built up their inflated debts and their inflated expectations during Bill Clinton's boom.

The Democrats' corporate supporters came from precisely those industries that became the most overblown: technology, telecoms, entertainment and finance.

Had Al Gore won the presidency, he would have given a job to John Doerr, the venture capitalist who boasted that the internet had sparked the greatest legal creation of wealth in human history, a phrase that would have come back to haunt him in government.

Republicans can blame deregulation of the telecoms industry - a proud Clinton-Gore achievement at the time - for some of the speculative excesses in that sector. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.