“The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting.” So argues Joseph Stiglitz in Vanity Fair, citing

“a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris — or even the Yukon — becomes a venture in high finance.

“And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands — or so he says — that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.”

Economist Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution makes a characteristically even-tempered argument the other way on some of the points in the first paragraph. He doesn’t address the second paragraph.

I myself am puzzled why Stiglitz complains about high oil prices, when that is the surest way for us to get weaned from this fuel. The real problem is they’re not high enough. We can’t expect politicians to tell the truth about this, but economists should.