Five and a half minutes of nice-nice with the press corps from this morning’s last hurrah. CQ has the transcript. I omitted the bit where he all but invites Obama to ask him for the second half of the TARP money — which The One duly did, shortly after this ended.
Not omitted: His concession that he “chucked” his free-market principles upon being warned of a looming depression. On that note, Kevin Hassett at Bloomberg looks ahead to the aftermath of the stimulus:
The Federal Reserve could print enough money to accommodate all of that debt, in which case the dollar will collapse and the U.S. will be looking at a South-America-style run on its debt.
Or the U.S. government could get its fiscal act in order with higher taxes. For that to happen, income taxes would approximately have to double.
While advocates of Keynesian-style stimulus are correct that this economy is terrible enough to warrant dramatic action, it is hard to understand how such a fiscal path might help. So what if second-quarter gross domestic product blips up a little bit? What business is going to expand its operations with the mother of all tax hikes peeking over the horizon? If government spending provided such a wonderful boost to the economy, we would be in Nirvana already.
Also not omitted are Bush’s thoughts on how the GOP can expand its appeal. Note his polite ambiguity as to whether “Republicans don’t like immigrants” is a fair statement or not.