WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush during his eight-year tenure did little to improve the U.S. economy, economists across the political spectrum said.
The number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent while Bush has been in office, and during Bush's tenure, the weakest growth over any eight-year span was recorded since such information collection began 70 years ago, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Another indicator of economic output, the gross domestic product, grew at the slowest pace for an eight-year administration since Harry Truman was in office, while income grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, except when George H.W. Bush was in office, the Post said.
Bush and his aides note they oversaw 52 straight months of job growth during the middle-2000s, and that the economy grew steadily from 2003 to 2007. But economists, including some former advisers to Bush, say it increasingly looks as if the nation's economic expansion was driven largely by upticks in the housing market, consumer spending and financial markets.
"The expansion was a continuation of the way the U.S. has grown for too long, which was a consumer-led expansion that was heavily concentrated in housing," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Bush staffer and one of Sen. John McCain's economic advisers during his presidential bid. "There was very little of the kind of saving and export-led growth that would be more sustainable."
"For a group that claims it wants to be judged by history, there is no evidence on the economic policy front that that was the view," Holtz-Eakin told the Post. "It was all Band-Aids."