Lessons not learned

Grim albeit apparent news surfaced Monday: The United States has been in a recession for a year. The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that the economy stopped expanding in November of 2007. The panel of economists typically does not release its findings months after downturns to ensure accurate reporting. Economists are predicting that this recession could be one of the most protracted since the early âÄô80s. Indeed, an Associated Press investigation found that the Bush administration ignored âÄúremarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown.âÄù The administration, following its obstinate free-market ideology, prevented regulators from cracking down on the very banks pleading for awesome amounts of taxpayer money in government bailouts, the reported stated. The recession, according to the Bureau, is measured by economic contractions. The panel found that the U.S. economy stopped growing by December 2007. (The panel doesnâÄôt measure a recession in terms of strictly gross domestic product). The Bush administration, including the president himself, has refused to even use the term. And instead of admitting his mistakes regarding deregulation, Bush is in a push to exacerbate them by pushing through federal policy changes âÄî opposed by President-elect Barack Obama âÄî that will, among other things, prolong the process of developing workplace safety standards, make it easier for power plants to build near national wildlife areas and reducing scientistsâÄô roles in deciding if proposed federal building projects pose a threat to endangered species. We thought Bush couldnâÄôt do too much damage during the transition period. But he seems remarkably capable at doing just that.