This sounds like the eight years of the G. W. Bush administration but, in fact, is a description of the four year administration of Republican Benjamin Harrison from 1888-1892. The Republican party of that period was in close partnership with business especially the trusts that controlled vast areas of the american economy through concerted price fixing and market division. The economic policy that the Cleveland administration was so dedicated to as a solution to all economic problems was not a continuing reduction of taxes, especially those on the rich, as was the Bush administration but rather a comprehensive system of high tariffs that allowed the trusts to operate without any effective competition. This resulted in prices for all consumer goods being higher than would have been the case with competition and in huge profits for those who owned or controlled the trusts. This meant that the income and wealth gap accelerated. The Republicans ignored all demands for tariff reform since they were convinced that increasing wealth at the top would "trickle down" (a term they didn't use but which would emerge in another Republican administration in the 1980's) to everyone else, or at least to those who were motivated to work. This, of course didn't work even for those who were able to work but it especially was a disastrous policy for African Americans in the South, Native Americans in the West, and for most of the newly arriving immigrants who seemed so not very American to the white males in power.
Even though Heather Cox Richardson does not draw these parallels in her recent book, Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre, any reader cannot help but notice that the picture she paints is a recurring one for American politics. "The Harrison administration has wrongly been buried in obscurity, for its effect were far-reaching. Its aggressive use of rhetoric, disseminated by its own media, had frightening repercussions for voting rights. Its rosy promises for the West--and the subsequent need to make those promises come true--spelled disaster for the western landscape. Its focus on economic development doomed the Sioux to poverty, and its manipulation of the electoral map changed the dynamics of politics."
This is a fascinating study of the way in which national politics impacted the lives and caused the deaths of the Sioux people of what is now South Dakota. As one reads of the incompetence and bald political decisions of the Indian agents appointed by the Harrison administration, one can only think of those famous words: "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie."
If you interested, here is a link to the Amazon listing for the book; I highly recommend it. http://www.amazon.com/Wounded-Knee-Politics-American-Massacre/dp/B004LQ0G6C/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300368966&sr=1-2