Well, (tax cut + big spending) has an effect on the deficit, but it won't have any serious effects until long after the general public will hold him culpable. Economic effects, if any, will happen some time even after that.
If only. The fact is, the prospect of growing deficits fucks up investor confidence now. That's one reason why cutting taxes on the theory that people will invest the money they save is a dumb idea. Another reason is that there's a deeper source of low investor confidence-- excess production capacity. Giving people more money to buy stocks doesn't make them buy stocks if they don't think the stocks are going to make money.
Mutual funds are not "The economy."
Of course mutual funds and the stock market are not "the economy." But fucking up the stock market hurts the economy. And you asked what Bush did to hurt the economy. So there's part of your answer.
Please realize that Americans have over $7 trillion in assets under management in mutual funds. That's a fifty-fold increase in just over 20 years, most of it accounted for not by the very wealthy but by ordinary workers saving for retirement. Traditional pensions have largely given way to 401(k) and 403(b) plans, and Social Security is a joke. So what do you suppose happens when millions and millions of Americans (myself included) see their future evaporate before their eyes? Doesn't make you want to run out and buy stock, or a new car, or anything else for that matter. I can tell you that. Nothing says "batten down the hatches" like losing half your life savings.
Just to connect the dots here: When production lines are overbuilt and people don't want to invest or spend-- and when people don't have money!-- the GDP goes down. "The economy" shrinks.
...other than monetary, tax, and spending policy.
Well, you see, once the initial indignation against the US for the war subsides, people are going to realize that they just like the products sold by Coke and (yuck) Disney, and they're going to break down and buy them again.
I'm glad you're so cheerful. You should scoop up a shitload of Disney stock, then. It's going for half what it was a few years back. Coke's a bargain too.
Hahaha, I kid. Seriously, I think you're laboring under the misconception, very widespread, that people buy products because they like the products, or even because they products are good. That may sometimes be a reason, but only one reason, and any first year marketing student can tell you it doesn't have a whole lot to do with brand success.
Let's be serious for a second. Do you think Coke is all that great? That without it, people would feel a yearning for top-quality sugar water, flavored "brown?" That the French or Germans don't have the beverage technology to concoct such weapons of mass deliciousness? I think Coke's success has something to do with America's image in the world and people wanting to be a part of that. (Just as when we snobs buy Perrier, we aren't necessarily expressing a taste preference for that particular fizzy crap.) It's "Brand America," and Bush is hosing Brand America big time.
If you think that's a joke, it isn't. The White House started a whole Brand America program. The State Dept hired a Madison Avenue guy named Jack Trout to run it. Sadly, they've found imperialism hard to sell no matter what label they stick on it. The result: growing contempt for things American. That is not trivial. It is a marketing catastrophe.
Sounds kind of like "they'll buy from us because they have little choice." I don't share that view. One, they don't need a lot of our crap like Disney and Coke. What they're buying is not mouse ears and brown sugar water, but America. And if America pisses them off, they'll spend their spare Euros on some other crap. This is just the kind of opening our competitors have been waiting for. Maybe it doesn't scare you, but it scares the living piss out of Wall Street.
The difference is, your friend (I'm assuming) has not taken to the streets with a million others protesting against France. What has France done that's so horrible anyway? Not bombed people? By equating your friend's grievances with those of Europeans, you could be underestimating the wave of anti-Americanism that's looming over us.
Or who knows? Maybe it really doesn't hurt the economy to piss the world off.