UM Hires Bush's Secretary of Recession ... Um, Commerce

With all the time we spend these days at Riptide getting ready for the full onslaught of the Great Depression 2.0 -- planning which soup kitchen we'll be patronizing, picking the perfect tent city for our new home, etc., etc. -- we don't have all that much time for finger-pointing. Does anyone really know, after all, who's to blame for this mess (other than Dubya, natch)?

But that being said, Riptide has some pointed questions for the newest employee of our own University of Miami.

The U just announced that they've added to the payroll Carlos Gutierrez, Bush's secretary of commerce from 2004 until this January. Gutierrez, a Cuban-American who rose through the ranks of the Kellogg Co. before joining the Bushies, is now a non-resident scholar with UM's Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

So let's add this up: As the American economy spiraled into its worst death swoon since the days of the Dust Bowl, Gutierrez was the guy running the department that exists to "foster, promote and develop the domestic and foreign commerce of the United States."  We don't exactly employ any graduate-level economists here at the

Riptide, but we're going to go out on a limb and say that Gutierrez

didn't exactly get the job done during his tenure.

You can certainly argue cause-and-effect in this case, and we're guessing Gutierrez would do just that: foreign and domestic trade has imploded because the market's credit has disappeared because the SEC didn't bother to regulate anyone and on and on.

But aren't Bush's economic policies at least partly to blame for this disaster? And wasn't this the guy on the front line putting those policies in place? If Riptide were a UM student, looking at a 3.9 percent tuition hike next year and a frozen university budget thanks to the economy Gutierrez helped to engineer, we'd have any angry word or two for Donna Shalala.

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