Randall DeSoto
On the campaign trail, President Obama often makes references to Bill Clinton and the 1990s as proof that increasing taxes on the “wealthy” will be no impediment to restoring our nation's economic health. In fact, he truly seems to believe it is good for the economy, like having an extra portion of broccoli or something.

Now he even has Clinton himself, in a newly released ad, stating this is the case. Recently, at various campaign stops, Obama contrasted Clinton’s policies with the "trickle down snake oil" that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are selling. He added, “It did not work then. It will not work now. It’s not a plan to create jobs. It will not reduce the deficit. It will not move the economy forward.” Actually, it did work then, and Bill Clinton’s Presidency is the proof.

Clinton took office in the wake of the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s and contrary to the Obama campaign's recent assertion, the Gipper’s recovery far out-stripped Obama’s “recovery” by every measure. When Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, the economy had roared back from a recession that saw the GDP in America fall to -2.0 percent in 1982 and unemployment rise to 10.8 percent. One of the main impetuses for economic growth was cutting tax rates across-the-board, including the top marginal rate on the “wealthy” from 70 percent ultimately to 28 percent.

What followed was the greatest economic expansion in American history. Reagan created over 19 million new jobs, with a population of 85 million less than today, and unemployment dropped to 5 percent. Revenues to the Treasury almost doubled during the 1980s because of the incredible growth. With a few short-lived exceptions, the nation experienced a strong economy following the Reagan model for two-and-a-half decades.

One exception was in the early 1990s: the GDP growth rate dropped to -0.3 percent in 1991. This downturn came after the Democratically controlled Congress persuaded/forced the first President Bush to go back on his 1988 Republican Convention pledge --“Read my lips, no new taxes”--and raised taxes as a means to supposedly close the budget gap. The top tax bracket increased from 28 percent under to 31 percent.

Randall DeSoto

Randy DeSoto is a freelance writer and media consultant.


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