Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Remembering the good

I'm still incredibly busy, not to mention that it's the middle of Pesach, so regular posting won't resume for a few days at least. Anyway, here is an interesting tidbit I saw recently.
These days, when everyone seems to be convinced that President Bush is a failure (which I don't agree with), Megan McArdle at Asymmetrical Information reminds us of some of the good things he has done:
It may not have suffered from the brutal Afghan winter, but the Bush administration certainly seems to be caught in a political quagmire these days. As pundits debate whether the Bush administration is evil or merely egregiously incompetent, it's easy to forget that the administration has done some big things right.
The first is trade. The Bush administration's committment to free trade has been downright inspiring. Sadly, the intransigence of Europe and the G20 block of developing nations over agricultural subsidies loks like it is going to derail any substantial progress in the Doha round of WTO negotiations. But the Bush administration has pushed the ag subsidies issue farther and faster than any previous president has dared. Even the abominable steel tariffs seem, in retrospect, to have been a way to gain street cred with protectionist factions at almost no expense--since the steel tariffs were designed in a way that was certain to be overturned at the WTO, "forcing" the administration to repeal them. The administration could have crafted some protectionist sop that wasn't so easily negated; it is to their credit that they did so.
The other things she mentions are education and foreign aid. Do read the whole thing. Though I do have my complaints about the US President (government spending, for instance), I still feel strongly that an Al Gore or a John Kerry would have been infinitely worse, and that on balance history will judge "Dubya" kindly.

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