Last night in New York City Obama and Clinton held a joint fundraiser. Bill Clinton had to reminded everyone of the difference between his presidency and Obama’s

“And, I care about the long term debt of the country a lot. Remember me, I’m the only guy that gave you four surplus budgets out of the eight I sent.”

9 Responses

  1. The most conservative period in 50 years, the Clinton years. We enjoyed it.

    Late 90s—conservative policies
    -Tax cuts
    -Reduction of debt
    -Govt grew more slowly than the economy.
    -Strong dollar policy
    -Free trade policies
    -Massive welfare reform, ie less welfare.

    2000s—the exact opposite, very liberal policies
    -Huge deficits
    -Doubled the national debt
    -The govt grew faster than the economy.
    -Weak dollar policy
    -New govt trade restrictions
    -Massive new $15+ trillion govt welfare programs-(Medicare D)
    -Doubled the size of the dept of education
    -More govt central control and guarantees of the mortgage markets
    -Huge spending on bailouts
    -Nationalized large parts of the economy (auto, bank & insurance)
    -Govt, govt, govt, more and more

    Which did you prefer?

    History is smarter than any economic theory.

    1. @JBH,

      “Late 90s—conservative policies”

      Late 90s being the key, i.e., post-Contract and post-Lewinsky, though Bob Rubin shares the guilt in a big way, along with his policy-hapless co-geniuses Larry and Al.

      “Tax cuts, Surpluses, Reduction of debt”

      Poorly designed cuts as it turns out, but true, deficits narrowed and became surpluses. Gross federal debt growth rate declined sharply, but annual amount wasn’t actually reduced: And as someone else pointed out, those surpluses eventually resulted in recession, after crushing emerging markets and some American industries. This is good how?

      “Govt grew more slowly than the economy.”

      By what measure(s) specifically? Taxes, spending, command of real resources, other? Whatever you’re thinking here, pls explain why it is good — what are the perceived macro mechanisms and effects?

      “Strong dollar policy”

      As with deficit cutting, this did wonders for US industrials and emerging markets – not! Did lower the price of oil dramatically though. Great for US consumers. Not sure how it impacted the rise of Arab terrorism in the 1990s though. (Did it? I haven’t ever thought that through.)

      “Massive welfare reform, ie less welfare.”

      Welfare sounds like a racket until you need it. How many Americans receive food stamps now? What’s the UE rate? Poverty rate? 1990s welfare reform has hardly been a success by those and other measures. Successful reform would mean fewer people truly needing assistance, wouldn’t it? Or is that not how conservatives think these days?

      If not, perhaps that’s why David Frum, George Will, even Norm Ornstein are beating their heads against the proverbial wall nowadays?

  2. The most fiscally and economically conservative period in US history and therefore one of the most prosperous, the 90s, you remember.

    Then 2000s came and liberalism returned in full force and so did the hard times we are experiencing today.

    Gee I wonder if there is any connection….?

    1. @JBH,

      Call it counter-cyclical politics?

      Aka, an confused electorate is always an administration late and a decade short on situational awareness.

      Or, just call in counter-cynical politicking?

      Always two there are, but which is the master & which is the pawn? 🙁

  3. I did not enjoy the Clinton years, beginning with Greenspan’s announcement that capital gains taxes were to be reduced on the sale of homes in order to “liberate the equity Americans had accumulated in their houses for the market.”
    Since we had been supplementing a meager public university salary by buying hovels, fixing them up and selling them for a modest profit on which we religiously paid the tax, Greenspan’s innovation not only struck me as unfair, but as another variant of the flipping of raw building lots that had deep-sixed the S&Ls in the prior decade.
    Certainly, welfare needed to be fixed and universal health care needed to be set up and neither were accomplished by Clinton/Gore. Who knew that Bill had been bought by the friends of NAFTA and the installation of Mac McLarty as chief of staff was to insure the deed got through the Congress? Warren Stephens did. Having previously bankrolled the Bushes, Stephens hedged his bets and came through for Clinton to make him “the comeback kid” after his poor showing in New Hampshire.
    No doubt, Bill Clinton hates deficits and obligations.

  4. Oh, and Bill, there is this pesky little thing called Glass-Steagall that is totally cramping our style. Do us a favor Old Boy and see what you can do about getting that thing repealed. That’d be great. Thanks.

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