Skip to comments.Better than Clinton? Putting Bush's economic record to the reelection test.
Posted on 03/05/2004 4:48:56 AM PST by FlyLow
Nine months prior to the 1996 presidential election, Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers cheerfully reported that the "American economy has performed exceptionally well over the past 3 years." While that may not surprise you, you may however be surprised to learn that President George W. Bush's economic record is, in many ways, better than the record Clinton ran on for reelection.
Compared with the "exceptional" years of 1993, 1994, and 1995, the first three years of George W. Bush's presidency featured:
lower inflation lower unemployment faster productivity growth faster labor compensation growth (i.e., wages and benefits) 29.4 percent ($6.9 trillion) more economic output 45 percent ($960 billion) more exports; and an economic growth rate 81.2 percent as fast as that under Clinton
Considering the circumstances under which the U.S. economy has labored for the past few years, President Bush's record is all the more impressive. When George W. Bush moved into the White House, the economy was on the verge of recession. The largest stock market bubble in U.S. history had recently burst, exports were declining, manufacturing employment had been falling for half a year, and people were finding it harder and harder to find work. And that was before 9/11, the war on terror, and the revelations of the corporate-governance scandals that grew out of the late 1990s.
The tax cuts President Bush signed into law helped alleviate the impact of these economic shocks and kept millions of Americans working who would have otherwise lost their jobs. Consequently, the unemployment rate peaked in June 2003 at 6.3 percent, compared with peaks of 7.8 percent and 10.8 percent during the previous two recessions.
With the U.S. economy on the upswing, President Bush's critics are finding it increasingly difficult to disparage his economic record. But that won't stop them. Fortunately, as Aldous Huxley observed, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." So what are the facts?
Most private-sector forecasters expect the U.S. economy will grow faster this year (on an average annual basis) than in any year since 1984.
For the third consecutive year, the U.S. economy is poised to grow faster than most other industrialized economies. France, Germany, and Japan, for instance, are not expected to grow even half as fast as the United States.
Since the Bush administration began, non-farm productivity has increased at a 4.1 percent annual rate the fastest pace for the start of any presidency since Harry S. Truman occupied the White House.
The U.S. remains the world's largest exporter. In fact, during the first three years of the Bush administration, the U.S. exported more in real terms than it did during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations combined.
More single-family homes were sold in 2003 than in any other year on record. And the homeownership rate is at a record-high of 68.5 percent a full percentage point higher than during the fourth quarter of 2000.
At 5.6 percent, the national unemployment rate is now lower than the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s.
According to the Labor Department's household survey the survey used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate more Americans are working now than ever before. The payroll survey is also showing improvement: 112,000 new jobs were created in January and 366,000 jobs have been added over the last five months.
While President Bush's economic record is arguably better than the record Bill Clinton ran on in 1996, this truth is frequently obscured by unrelenting partisan criticism based more on fancy than fact. But the fact remains that the United States boasts the world's largest and most vibrant economy. It will stay that way so long as we are guided by a trust in what President Bush calls "the power and possibilities of freedom."
J. Edward Carter is an economist in Washington, D.C., and the chairman of Economists for Bush.
I feel that the performance on the economy could be made the strongest selling point for GW in this election. Let us compare him to Clinton (everybody including all the Democrats think that Kerry will be much worse president than Clinton, so it this comparison is a very valid predictor).
The economy was sputtering throughout 2000 (e.g. it was so bad that we saw contracting GDP in Q3), Clinton sat on his hands and did nothing but blamed GW for "talking the economy down". GW showed that the true leadership means when he rammed two big tax cuts through the unfriendly Congress and thus provided an environment for economic recovery, which is taking hold despite the ongoing war.
Sure, liberals endlessly snipe about 'jobless recovery' - but this is not an issue here, without GW's leadership in 2001 there will NO recovery in 2003-2004.
Let us compare GW with Clinton in this respect - Clinton got booming economy from Bush Sr. and run it into the ground blowing people's savings in the biggest stock market bubble along the way and then he had to act, he did nothing. Add to this the insane 'strong dollar' policy of Clinton administration, which reduced competitiveness of US economy that ignited skilled jobs migration process. GW got economy sitting in the gutter and it was his leadership which first stopped the slide and then took us out of there.
I hope that GW and his team will hummer it down to every American by November.
The article mentions unemployment, but overlooks consumer sentiment.
Get this information to the people? For those whose political decisions depend on economic realities, this stuff is not new. For those whose economic ranting depends upon their political beliefs, this stuff is irrelevant.
You try talking sense to some bush-basher (Kerry or Buchanan follower) and they'll whine about some anecdote or other twisted story.
However, maybe some folks can be persuaded with numbers. ;-)
True, if you tell some people that the computer printout says pigs can fly -- they'll believe it. The important thing is the conscious choice to seek truth. Do we seek economic data to learn about the economy or are we grabbing numbers to win a political argument?
Well, I think it's even more difficult a problem than that - most of the voters lived through and personally experienced both the Clinton years and the last four years. They have their own perceptions about these things.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.