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It's The Economy, Mr. President!

We had a great economy for the first six Clinton years. Some people call it the "Clinton Economy," so let's check it out and see what happened. This is a matter of recently recorded history; it is easily researched. If you don't actually remember it yourself, let me remind you of what really happened.

The Dow Jones Industrial Averages has been a reliable health indicator of American economic health since the Dow first opened on May 2, 1885. The first Dow Jones day closed at about 31. From 1896 to 1929, Dow Jones rose to just over 381 points. In 1929 the market crashed, sending Dow Jones down over the next three years to a low of 41.22, a decrease of 340 points. It had decreased by 90%.

From 1932 to 1969, when President Nixon took office, the Dow had grown to around 960 points. When Nixon was in the White House, 1969-1974, the Dow peeked above the 1,000 mark for the first time, from November 1972 to February 1973, and then fell to the mid-600s during the Watergate Crisis.

When Gerald Ford was in office, the Dow rose again to 1,000 and was at 817 when he left office.

When President Carter took office in 1977, the Dow hovered around 850 for the next three years, 1977-1979. Then in 1980 it rose to 970. Carter's presidency was when we had long gas lines (remember?), inflation was in the double digits, interest rates rose to 21%, and unemployment was high. That was when President Carter blamed the American People for a lousy economy. He said we "needed to tighten our belts and save more."

When Ronald Reagan campaigned, he said that blaming the American people for the economy was a lie and stupid. It was the government's fault, and that is what needed to be changed, the government, not the people. Ronald Reagan was elected and served as president from 1981 to 1989.

President Reagan made significant reforms by reducing taxes and removing many government regulations. During his time in office the Dow rose about 1,935 points, from about 875 to about 2,810. Interest rates and inflation dropped from 21% to 3.5%. Unemployment dropped to an all-time low. This is the economy that Democrats laugh at and say is the worst in American history. This is the economy they want to deliver us from.

When George H. W. Bush was in office, 1989-1993, the Dow rose another 994 points – to about 3,754 – still riding on the changes the Reagan administration made.

While Bill Clinton is in office, 1993-2001, the Dow rose almost 6,300 points, to about 10,021, still riding on the Reagan changes. Bill Clinton lambasted the Reagan reforms and vowed to punish those people who participated in creating it. I remember hearing him make a campaign speech in which he said that. Yet in 1996 Bill Clinton boasted that inflation is the lowest it had been for 12 years (when Reagan was in office). A few weeks later he boasted that unemployment is the lowest it had been for 10 years (when Reagan was in office). President Clinton continued to say the Reagan/Bush era is the worst thing that ever happened to America, yet he bragged about getting it back to where it was then. In 1999, the Democrats began referring to the American bonanza as the "Clinton Economy."

Who should we really thank for this wonderful economy? Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan?

Click here for 100-year Dow Jones chart

The Clintons and other liberals brag about the healthy economy being the result of Clinton's policies while at the same time saying the Reagan economy is the worst thing that ever happened to us. So Bill Clinton is claiming the credit for Ronald Reagan's work.

However, Bill Clinton did what liberals do: he reversed the things that Reagan began; he brought back regulations and increased taxes. Sure enough, after six years, Clinton succeeded in stopping the American economic revolution. It slowed, sputtered, crawled and stopped. Then it began downhill. From a high of 11,723 (Jan 14, 2000) it sunk to 10,646 by December 31, 2000, a decrease of about 1,077. The last two years of Clinton's administration saw a major decrease in the economy, directly due to his own policies. However, it had not reached the point yet where it was called a "recession." Clinton left office when his economy was in a free-fall.

Shortly after George W. Bush took office, the liberals began calling the failing economy the "Bush Recession" and blaming President Bush for it although it actually began two years before he took office. That, of course, makes as much sense as Clinton taking credit for Reagan's economic boom, which began six years before Clinton took office.

What did this new President Bush do? He cut the taxes and decreased regulations. That is, he reversed the Clinton economic model and returned to the Reagan model. What was the result? As of this writing, December 2007,* President Bush is still in office. Unemployment is at 4.5%, which is considered full employment by economists because we must always have people between jobs, and 4.6% is the magic number. Dow Jones is at 13,536, an increase of 3,515 since President Clinton left office.

(*see note below about the last years of G. W. Bush's presidency, written September, 2012)

I remember these things happening, and I'm surprised when I talk to others who seem to have no clue what happened to them in their own lifetimes. As I said, there are two types of liberals: those completely deceived and those who do the deceiving. It's just too bad that some conservatives fall for it, too.

 

President Years Dow Jones Approx. Increase
1885 - 1929 40 - 248 +208 in 45 years
1930 - 1969 248 - 836 +588 in 39 years
Nixon (Republican) 1969 - 1974 836 - 1,000 - 616 +164 then -374 in 5 years
Ford (Republican) 1974 - 1977 616 - 817 +100 in 3 years
Carter (Democrat) 1977 - 1981 817 - 875 +58 in 4 years
Begin the Reagan Economy
Reagan (Republican) 1981 - 1989 875 - 2810 +1,935 in 8 years
Bush (Republican) 1989 - 1993 2810 - 3754 +944 in 4 years
Clinton (Democrat) 1993 - 2000 3754 - 10021 +6267 in 8 years
Bush (Republican) 2001 - 2007 10021 - 13536 +3515 in 4 years

 

Appendix

Written September, 2012

During the last two years of G. W. Bush's Presidency, the economy started collapsing. It was due to two factors working together: war and under funded mortgages.

  1. Terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in New York. By a bipartisen vote, the United States entered Afganistan to attack the terrorists and overthrow that government because they supported and protected the terrorists.
  2. By a bipartisan vote, the United States entered a war against Iraq to depose a dangerous dictator. Immediately afterwards, the Democrats (who had voted for the military action) began blaming Bush as if it were only his doing.
  3. Several years before Pres. G. W. Bush, Congress in a bipartisan vote authorized the government to guarantee mortgage loans to people otherwise unqualified to receive such loans. That market collapsed in 2007-2008, when President Bush left office and President Obama assumed office.

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