Now, recently I've been thinking about something a very political history teacher of mine said a few years ago. Something about former POTUS Bush that I never quite understood.

I don't remember what lead to it, only that he very aggressively told another student "Bush isn't a idiot for crashing the economy, he's a idiot for crashing it early!".

What was he trying to say? Why would Bush at all want to crash the economy and what does he mean by "early"?

Apologies if this is too vague, but I can't ask him myself right now and I'm far too curious.

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    That doesn't make any sense to me, unless he believed that the economy was going to crash sooner or later and Bush just made it happen sooner? – rougon Feb 5 '17 at 3:46
  • That's what he said, just curious what he could have meant. – Tirous Feb 5 '17 at 3:49
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    Not sure how we would know what your teacher meant--especially given the complete lack of context. I suggest sending them an email and asking them directly. – user1530 Feb 5 '17 at 21:54

Which President Bush? There were two of them. You've tagged it with the second one, so going with that. It's not clear from your teacher's statement which though. So keep in mind the possibility that this was in reference to the first one.

The economy goes into recession regularly. 2008, 2001, 1992, 1982-3, etc. So he may simply have been saying that the economy was going to crash some time.

If the economic crash had started in 2009 rather than 2008 (or 2007 if you prefer), then it would have been perceived as McCain's problem more than Bush's. I say McCain because there is some reason to believe that John McCain would have won if the economy had been better. So if your teacher was pro-McCain, he may have felt that Bush was an idiot for not keeping up appearances for another year or two until he was out of office.

Note that that recession was exceptionally persistent (and likely started early) due to the simultaneous housing crisis. It's not evident that there was much Bush could have done to prevent that.

In general, it is considered better politically for a recession to start early in one's term so that improvement can occur prior to the election. That way the election takes place in the glow of the improvement rather than the darkness of the recession. Outside of one's term is even better, but considering the frequency with which they happen is difficult. Note that Bill Clinton's presidency was bracketed by recessions. So he got credit for the first recovery and skipped out on the blame for the .net crash and recession.

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    it is considered better politically for a recession to start early in one's term It is even better if you delay it enough that it blows in your successor's mandate. – SJuan76 Feb 5 '17 at 5:11

The only person who knows for sure what your teacher meant, is your teacher. However, we can guess.

Let's assume those things:

  1. Crashes are unavoidable, and will happen from time to time.
  2. Avoiding a crash is not possible, but it can be postponed for some time. (Usually at a cost)
  3. Whoever is in charge when the crashes happens, will receive the blame. (And will try to avoid this blame by blaming his predecessor)
  4. Most if not all politicians will try to avoid being blamed for bad stuff.

Bush clearly failed to postpone it until after his presidency.

It sounds like your teacher blames Bush for failing to postpone the crash until after his presidency had ended.

Whether your teacher is right in his assessment, is not up to me to judge.

  • Apologies, It seems I did ask a vague question. :) – Tirous Feb 5 '17 at 3:56

What was he trying to say?

he is your teacher, and he is the only person who has the utmost authority to explain to you what he meant. so it would make sense for you to ask him.

with that said, a few guesses from me - total speculation:

1) had bush crashed the economy a couple months later, your teacher could have his mortgage approved so he could have gotten his house much cheaper;

2) your teacher bought into the market at the top;

3) your teacher married someone rich, only to see her / his wealth evaporated in the crash;

4) your teacher borrowed heavily under the assumption that a growing economy would monetizing his debt, which didn't happen due to the crash; ...

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