This blog,originally founded by Blogger, who is listed in Marquis Who's Who and is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Inheritance (part 1 of 3)

One of the most often repeated Democrat talking points is the subject of inheritance. Bush inherited a booming economy from Clinton. Obama inherited the worst economy since the great depression from Bush. We hear it all the time.

First, lets take it at face value. Clearly, the implication is that Clinton made a good economy and Bush ruined it so badly that Obama is still cleaning up the mess a year and a half later. Isn't that a lazy analysis? I mean, are we to conclude the power of the Presidency trumps all circumstances? The President can affect fiscal policy despite being unable to do the Legislature's job of budgeting but what did the President actually do to cause the boom or the bust? What did Congress do? What happened independently and completely out of the control of the President and Congress that affected the economy one way or the other? To disregard those questions is not only intellectually lazy, it's a pitiful attempt to shamelessly reshape history.

We'll do this in three parts so the debate has a foundation: Clinton, Bush and Obama.

William Jefferson Clinton

What did President Bush inherit from Clinton? For one thing, a recession. For those of you in Rio Linda, a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The economy was shrinking despite the surplus. Let's apply a wee bit of curiosity to the equation.

What did the Bill Clinton do to cause the recession and the surplus? He was a good manager of the economy and didn't go nuts with a radical agenda to fundamentally transform America after the failure of health care. His tax hikes did not cause the doom and gloom many, including myself, predicted. He gets credit there but I honestly cannot name a single thing he did or agenda he pushed that puts the credit(surplus) or blame(recession) squarely on his shoulders.

What did Congress do? The biggest thing was "The Contract With America". In 1994 the people gave majorities back to Republicans with a clear mandate. President Clinton, with advice from guru Dick Morris, "triangulated" towards and co-opted 7 of 10 items in the contract including "The fiscal Responsibility Act". Clinton for all his faults listened to the will of the people. It is fair to say Congress drove the agenda towards fiscal responsibility.

What happened independently and completely out of the control of Bill Clinton and Congress that affected the economy one way or the other? Three words: "Dot Com Bubble". From 1995 to 2000 tech stocks soared on speculative trading. The phenomena illustrated how a growing economy is so much more effective at raising revenue than a taxed economy... but it was a bubble. There was no there there. Just cyber-there. The bubble burst on March 10, 2000. By the time Bush came into office the next January the country was in recession but we still had a little money in the bank. Another thing that was brewing during the Clinton years was the Enron scandal. It added to the stock bubble and made the pop a little louder when it burst.

A recession isn't the only thing Bush inherited from Clinton. He also inherited Osama Bin Laden, Jamie Gorelick's wall, Sadaam Hussein and a host of ignored UN resolutions, the Taliban in Afghanistan, a Pakistan that recognized them as the official regime, a vandalized White House with no "w"s on any of the computer keyboards and spooge-stained oval office. I'm sorry I even had to write that last one, excuse me.

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