Keeping It Right

Keeping It Right is for thought provoking conversationist. It's for those who love to talk about today's issues, yesterday's history and tomorrow's future.

Location: Moreno Valley, CA

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Economy: Does it take a Clinton to clean up after a Bush?
Larry Elder

"There seems to be a pattern here. It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush."

So said presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., during a speech -- specifically on the economy -- before a crowd in Knoxville, Iowa. Okay, we understand campaign sloganeering -- purportedly funny lines and the like during the campaign season. But shouldn't the Associated Press, in reporting Clinton's line, provide the reader with a little information?

Let's look at what incoming President Bill Clinton "cleaned up" when he took over from President George H. W. Bush in late January 1993. Despite the relentless economic news by the traditional media, Clinton entered office with an economic recovery two years old. During Bush-41's last year in office -- 1992, the year voters elected Clinton -- the economy grew 3.2 percent. President Clinton's average economic growth during his eight years was 2.4 percent.

Now look at what incoming President George W. Bush faced. The economy peaked in September of 2000. Many economic indicators, such as industrial production, peaked in September 2000 -- Clinton's last full year in office -- and continued to slide through January 2001, when Bush took office.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a non-profit organization the government uses to determine economic cycles, states the recession began in March 2001, some six weeks after Bush took over. So when W entered the White House, he dealt with an economy entering a recession -- a recession that, according to the NBER, lasted until November 2001.

Sen. Clinton's quip elicited applause from her audience, but how many in the crowd knew about the economic conditions Clinton enjoyed when entering office, or the downturn W confronted when he did so? Small wonder that so many remain ignorant about this when the Associated Press, in covering Clinton's economic speech, provides no information.

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