Hillary Throws a Surprising ‘Hail Mary’ Pass
by Lowell Ponte
Hillary Clinton, speaking in Kentucky hours before its Democratic primary, threw what she hopes will be red meat to its struggling workers and voters.
If elected, Clinton said, she would put former President Bill Clinton “in charge of revitalizing the economy.”
Her husband “knows how to do it,” said Ms. Clinton, “especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.”
In 1992 the Clintons won the White House through their campaign motto “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Democrats with far stronger credentials had refused to run against incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush, whose polls at one point showed 90 percent favorability. The Arkansas Governor ran with little hope of winning, but Mr. Clinton had become the Democratic frontrunner before an economic downturn tanked Mr. Bush’s popularity.
In the Clinton cosmology, they took office during the biggest budget deficit in history ($290 Billion), immediately reneged on a promised tax cut and imposed instead a retroactive huge tax increase, and left office eight years later with a budget surplus of $127 Billion after creating 22.5 million new jobs.
Hillary, after eight years of Barack Obamalaise of economic stagnation, has decided to win by evoking the Clinton mythology that she and Bill ruled over an economic Camelot of prosperity that another Clinton presidency could re-create.
This fantasy, however, omits many inconvenient facts that we need to remember. We need to wake up and, again, smell the Clintons.
In 1992 the Clintons had little need to revive the economy. By election day the economy had mostly revived itself and was again growing strongly. The Clinton-backing liberal media, however, concealed this and endlessly echoed the false propaganda about how bad things still were under President Bush.
Just as this same media ceased using the term “Reaganomics” the moment the economy improved, it stopped beating the drum of doom the moment the Clintons were elected and gave the new co-presidents (“two for the price of one” said Bill) credit for an economic turnaround that had been underway for more than a year.
The economy already had a strong underpinning in the “peace dividend” of revenue no longer needed because of the end of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall fall on November 9, 1989. President Bush, hectored by a Democratic Congress, was unable to prevent much of this dividend from being diverted into welfare social spending instead of being returned to taxpayers.
The Clinton presidency smashed this fat piggy bank, clashing defense spending by $125 Billion a year and diverting this loot to social spending that bought votes. This reckless greed by Bill and Hillary caused wild economic distortions. Property prices in Southern California and other defense-industry-rich parts of the country, for example, plummeted as these anti-war hippies shared this one-time pinata of taxpayer wealth.
The Clintons’ gutting of American national defense and intelligence operations would later have a high price in the terrorist attacks of 9-11, but their liberal media allies by then would have another Bush to falsely accuse when the consequences of Clinton greed came home to roost.
The Clintons’ presidency created such an obvious mess that the 1994 elections cost Democrats the Senate and, for the first time since 1952, the House of Representatives, just two years after the grifter couple won the White House.
Did prosperity follow? Yes, almost entirely because a Republican House under Speaker Newt Gingrich took control of taxing and spending legislation. A more pro-business Congress produced pro-prosperity results.
Unlike his more radical wife, President Bill Clinton had enough moderation and political savvy to cut deals with the new Republican majorities, agreed to welfare reform and the trade deal NAFTA, and thereby amazingly won re-election in 1996.
An irony of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign is that until a few days ago, she had repudiated nearly every one of President Bill Clinton’s pro-business compromises with Republicans. She has been pulled far to the left by socialist rival Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. She ago said she shared his position of “Medicare for All,” another way of saying “single payer” or “socialized” medicine. To win minority votes, she also appeared to embrace President Barack Obama’s many socialist and welfarist policies.
But now, suddenly, her new knight from Clinton Camelot and the 1990s is Bill Clinton and their era of prosperity – based on the capitalist policies of Newt Gingrich.
In the end the Clinton prosperity did little for coal country or the rust belt. It begat huge housing and tech bubbles that devastated our economy when they burst, popping hippie pipe dreams of quick riches in the twilight. At least the Clintons got away with what today is a $200 Million fortune and $2 Billion foundation as their fat cat fiefdom.
The Bernie-bots agree that Bill Clinton was a “great” and passionate president – but in their infantile memories he looks like a great Republican president who cut welfare and imposed tough anti-crime legislation…for which Hillary lately has been apologizing.
Today’s Progressive Democrats are unlikely to rally to her if this is what she now promises to resurrect. In the end she was just another politician who could be bought and paid for by crony capitalists. The Clinton Camelot was always an illusion, a mirage, and only the stupid would be fooled by it again.
Lowell Ponte is a veteran think tank futurist and co-author, with monetary expert Craig R. Smith, of six books about the American economy.
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Tim Worstall, “If Bill Clinton Will Help Hillary Fix The Economy Then What Will Economic Policy Be?” Forbes Magazine, May 16, 2016. URL: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/05/16/if-bill-clinton-will-help-hillary-fix-the-economy-then-what-will-economic-policy-be/#2d9e7edd259a
“Hillary Clinton: Bill Would Be In Charge of ‘Revitalizing the Economy,’” AOL News, May 16, 2016. URL: http://www.aol.com/article/2016/05/16/hillary-bill-clinton-economy-presidential-administration/21378053/