Two years ago I was seeding stories about the housing bubble and how it was powered by insanely leveraged credit instruments, and I was not by any means the only one. Respected economists were writing in academic journals, financial newspapers, and respected broadsheets about an impending stockmarket and housing disaster. Áine and I had a conversation about the situation in which she predicted the timing of the meltdown with perfect accuracy and I thought it wouldn't happen for about another nine months.
In a way it all started with Reagan's voodoo economics, but it really hit its straps under Clinton, when Senator Phil Gramm's quietly dismantled many of the restrictions which had kept the exposure of the big lenders within some sort of sensible bounds. Recently the financial sector has resembled a thousand greedy monkeys partying on the Titanic with the collision sirens blaring.
With an idiot at the helm.
The whole reason we elect someone to the big chair in the Oval Office is so there will be a steady pair of eyes on the course the nation is taking. Party politics is one thing, but there has to be someone with a hand on the wheel, for precisely this reason. That guy should have known, after all it was no secret - everyone with half a thought about the situation could figure out what was coming, and we don't pay him to stand on the deck of aircraft carriers or clear brush on a farm. The Queen of England is a figurehead, but the President of the United States is not, and this one failed in war - where he can at least claim, though no one in their right mind should believe him, that the war was necessary and the outcome unforseeable - and he has now failed the economy - comprehensively, and in a situation which was clear for anyone to see.
What Bush did was put political advantage and mindless adherence to the religion of the market ahead of the need for prudence. He did not bring in desperately needed regulatory curbs to slow a runaway financial sector, and he has caused misery and homelessness as a result.
America do not again elect someone who puts their own selfish advantage ahead of the needs of the country.