I think in part the reason is that seeing an economy that is, in many ways, quite different from the one grows up in, helps crystallize issues: in one's own environment, one takes too much for granted, without asking why things are the way they are.
The Bush administration has been doing everything it can to hide the huge number of returning veterans who are severely wounded - - 17,000 so far including roughly 20 percent with serious brain and head injuries. Even the estimate of $500 billion ignores the lifetime disability and healthcare costs that taxpayers will have to spend for years to come.
I understand why political leaders in the beginning want to be cheerleaders to generate optimism. But to admit that they didn't understand the depths of the problem afterwards, I found a little bit surprising.
Even if Bush could be forgiven for taking America, and much of the rest of the world, to war on false pretenses, and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture, there is no excuse for how he chose to finance it. His was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit. As America went into battle, with deficits already soaring from his 2001 tax cut, Bush decided to plunge ahead with yet another round of tax relief for the wealthy.
It's actually a tribute to the quality of economics teaching that they have persuaded so many generations of students to believe in so much that seems so counter to what the world is like. Many of the things that I'm going to describe make so much more common sense than these notions that seem counter to what ones eyes see every day.