When I was living in Naples Florida, I first ran into the term Mickey Mouse. At that time it meant to slap something together – usually something you broke – so that it looked OK in hopes that nobody would notice and that when it did fall apart, you were not around to get the blame. IE to Micky Mouse something. What we have is a Micky Mouse economy now and we have had this for quite some time.
I am not sure when this all started, I think in the 1970s but maybe as late as the 1980s. For sure by the time Reagan got in. If one looks at the various boom-bust cycles over the last 4 or so decades a pattern emerges.
The one thing that I started to notice is that which ever party happens to be in power – that which ever is currently in the White House – they will make damn sure that any economic down turn does not happen while they are there. They will go to whatever lengths are necessary to make sure the other party gets the blame. They will Micky Mouse the economy so that it does not fall apart until they are out of power, with out taking any real steps or passing an real legislation that would make things better in the long run. And they will cook the books, so to speak, so everything looks AOK. Making unemployment look good by not including vast parts of the unemployed. Making the GDP look good by not including certain areas of the economy. And printing money to make people feel good.
I noticed this first with Reagan and then Bush I with Clinton and then Bush II and now with Obama. By the time Bush I got into office the economy was already sliding. With the price of oil continuing to rise, our trade deficit increasing and more and more jobs being ship over seas and once productive steel and auto plants being closed, things were not looking good. Reaganomics being a disaster as well. Bush I did not fair well. For one thing he agreed with the democrats in congress on taxes and spending which pissed off all the other republicans so he lost to Clinton in the election. Clinton’s answer was to cook the books and then try some techno-voodoo by making what was then ARAP-NET public. And the tech sector took off with people making WEB-Sites, selling advertising on them and then going public on Wall Street promising huge profits and returns. One of the best ponzi schemes yet. Then the Dot-Com bubble burst just in time for Bush II to take office. Bush’s answer….give a tax break (mainly to the already rich), lower interest rates so people would THINK they had money and hope that whole thing does not collapse until he is out of office. Well his timing was a wee bit off, but it worked since the implosion happened just before the election and Obama got saddled with it anyway.
So what does Obama do…well enact a stimulus package that does little, pass some meaningless health care legislation and financial legislation and hope the next dive does not happen until he is out of office. The whole point being not to rock the boat. Putting the health insurance industry or financial industry out of business as usual, would likely have cause a complete melt down and he certainly did not want that on his watch. Nor did any of the democrats in congress. Only the republicans would like that.
To sum it all up, the economy is mostly a political game of dodge ball. Each party doing what ever they can not to be saddled with an economic collapse.