Brown's Woes Offers Obama Reality Check

Voters don't reward economic competence after crisis: Krugman
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2009 8:50 AM CDT
Gordon Brown during the 1997 general election campaign, with Tony Blair in the background. Labour has governed for 12 years, offering a view of what might have happened in a US without George W. Bush.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Bush administration has taken much of the blame for the American recession, but a "huge housing bubble and a financial crisis" were always on the cards, as Paul Krugman writes for the New York Times. Writing from London, where voters gave Gordon Brown a pummeling in Thursday's elections, Krugman observes that Britain shows what might have happened if the 2000 presidential election had gone the other way.

In the late 1990s Brown, like his US counterpart Robert Rubin, "bought fully into the dogma that the market knows best, that less regulation is more." Since the crisis hit, the PM has acted boldly to support banks, and Britain's future is rosier than that of other parts of Europe—but voters are turning away. That should scare the Obama team, Krugman writes: in a crisis, the electorate will punish whoever was "in power when the bad stuff happened."