Former President Bill Clinton spoke via a prerecorded message at the virtual Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night and, unsurprisingly, strayed from reality on more than one occasion.
Clinton also appeared to have recorded his appearance in an alternate universe, a reality in which he was not widely condemned as a sexual predator who abused his power and received sexual favors in the White House.
"At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center," Clinton said, without irony. You can hardly blame him for his blatant glossing over of his own Oval Office malfeasance. After all, Slick Willy has gotten away with everything so far. Even after the MeToo era, he was still seen as such an important symbol of Democrat success that he was invited to speak at the DNC.
But beyond the egregious, hypocritical attempt at castigating Trump for his behavior in the Oval Office, Clinton used his time on Tuesday night to hoist Biden as the solution to economic growth after the pandemic. He cited the bounceback in the American economy following the 2008 recession and said that under Obama, the country saw new jobs for six consecutive years.
"In 2009, Barack Obama and Joe Biden started with the worst economy since the Great Depression and when they were done, they had delivered more than six straight years of job growth," Clinton said.
Considering that the Obama administration came into power at the end of economic fallout in 2008, the yearly growth was on pace for restoring many of the lost jobs during the recession. One great booster to employment gains during the Obama era was the recovery of the Michigan auto industry, something Obama, Biden, and their surrogates love to give them credit for. This point has been brought up several times already in the convention as evidence of Obama's, and therefore Biden's, unprecedented success in economic policy.
But as I pointed out on Tuesday, the bailout money sent to the Michigan auto factories was actually set aside by the George W. Bush administration. $17.6 billion was earmarked in December of 2008 as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, an effort meant to save General Motors and Chrysler. All Obama had to do was sign off on their recovery plan when he took office.
In fact, Obama rejected those companies' viability plans in 2009; instead, he structured a bankruptcy plan for both and shoveled out even more federal aid. All in all, as the TARP program was a sequence of enormous bailouts that saved many businesses, cost the taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, and is now widely condemned by the very people who claim Obama was a champion of job recovery. The further funding for the automobile industry in Michigan structured by Obama is estimated to have cost the American taxpayers billions in unrecoverable funds.
But even if one were to simply compare job gain year-over-year between Obama and Trump, Trump still comes out on top. As the employment recovery was deemed mostly complete by 2017, President Trump continued to add jobs by supporting energy and manufacturing labor. No matter how a left-wing analyst chooses to compare statistics between their beloved Obama and Trump, no one can boast the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and the lowest-ever unemployment rate for African-Americans other than Trump.
Clinton's portrait of economic success under Obama could have been seen as dishonesty by omission, but his version of what happened in the U.S. because of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic was nothing but lies.
"Our unemployment rate is more than twice as high as South Korea's, two and half times the United Kingdom's, and more than three times Japan's," Clinton said. "Donald Trump says we're leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple."
Clinton's comparison of the United States to other countries lacked context and grossly misrepresented the job crisis in this country. While the U.S. counts each job loss, including temporary layoffs, most European countries do not; this data compilation makes the panic-inducing rates touted by Clinton sound as desperate as possible. In fact, the data compiled in July of all 20 million jobs lost because of COVID-19 counted 56 percent of those as temporary job losses.
The United Kingdom, for example, which Clinton mentioned explicitly, boasts that their unemployment rate because of COVID-19 is less than half of what it is in the U.S. In reality, the U.K. does not count the millions of workers in their country that are only temporarily laid off. The U.S. counts every single person who has lost their income, no matter if that is temporary or permanent.
The United States has already recovered nearly half of the jobs lost because of the Chinese virus pandemic. The U.K., which Clinton is so fond of, lost an additional 730,000 workers between March and July.
Additionally, the U.S. has responded to the pandemic era unemployment crisis by bolstering employee unemployment benefits while other countries subsidize businesses, creating a government power grab that could take years for employers to recover from if they ever do. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a July report that the policy differences between nations explained much of the difference in unemployment reporting.
"The United States are [sic] strongly relying on unemployment insurance benefits to secure the income of workers who lose their jobs, even in the case of a temporary crisis,” they said. “Meanwhile, other OECD countries, not just in Europe, are making heavy use of job retention schemes, which allow companies to cut hours of work, or even halt work entirely, while keeping their workers attached."
Perhaps Clinton is a fan of the far-left policies that took control of businesses in European countries and that made him partial to their fluffed-up unemployment reports. But to cast Trump as an enemy to economic achievement in the United States requires flat-out lies. And that is exactly what we got from Bill Clinton.