February 18, 2008

Bill Clinton Again Takes Credit for the 1990s Economy; He Deserves Little of It

I see that ARIFPOTUS (Accused Rapist and Impeached Former President of the United States) Bill Clinton is once again taking credit for everything good that happened in the 1990s, as Jack Tapper at ABC’s Political Punch reports:

"There are two competing moods in America today," Clinton said. "People who want something fresh and new — and they find it inspiring that we might elect a president who literally was not part of any of the good things that happened or any of the bad things that were stopped before. The explicit argument of the campaign against Hillary is that ‘No one who was involved in the 1990s or this decade can possibly be an effective president because they had fights.  We’re not going to have any of those anymore.’ Well, if you believe that, I got some land I wanna sell you."

I also see that Tapper is letting Mr. Clinton’s claims pass as if they are undeniable facts, as others in Old Media have done for so many years:

Presumably, by "any of the good things that happened" in the 1990s, Clinton is referring to the things he did as president (except for the ones his wife now distances herself from, such as NAFTA).

The “good things” that happened in the 1990s were primarily economic. There’s little doubt that Mr. Clinton’s latest brags capitalize on the established folklore that his administration is responsible for the good things that happened in the 1990s economy, but not for the difficulties that became evident during the final year of his stewardship and carried into the administration of George W. Bush.

So let’s recount the economy of the 1990s:

  • First, give him credit for NAFTA (sorry, anti-free traders), which helped set the table for feast to come later.
  • That said, really good things didn’t start consistently happening until 1996, shortly after the 1994 Gingrich Revolution, when the GOP took over Congress and the Senate.
  • During its first couple of years, the GOP-controlled Congress made progress in getting the federal budget under a semblance of control, especially on the spending side of the ledger. The economy and the stock market responded positively; unfortunately, the non-defense spending improvements didn’t last.
  • For four years starting in 1997, welfare reform, which Clinton only signed once it was clear that his political survival depended on it (4th para at link), stimulated the economy to an underappreciated degree. First, it put an average of over 500,000 new adults per year into the workforce during that time. Second, the addition of so many new workers with additional spending power had a unquantifiable but very real multiplier effect. Finally, the two points just mentioned improved the federal budget situation, as it reducted dependency outlays while increasing tax collections from the newly productive and their multiplier-effect beneficiaries.
  • The gutting of the military (something, it should be noted, Congress failed to adequately resist) had a positive economic impact, but a horrible longer-term effect on national security.
  • Also in 1997, a GOP-driven supply-side capital gains tax cut (8th para at link), not exactly the Clintonians’ favorite idea, further fueled the prosperity and created yet another tax-collections boomlet.

Sadly, by early 2000, investment community hype (check the party affiliations and political contributions of many of those most involved in it sometime), investor greed, and lax Clinton Administration SEC enforcement led to the bursting of the NASDAQ/Internet bubble, which officially began on March 10 of that year.

By the third quarter of 2000, the economy was in near-recession. Only years later did we see that the economy contracted 0.5% during that quarter. The government’s final revision at the time said that the economy grew 2.2%. Hmmm.

The historical record shows that besides helping to push through NAFTA, Bill Clinton and his administration had very little to do with the good things that happened in the mid/late-1990s US economy, and quite a bit to do with how it came tumbling down from 2000-2002.

Moving to the present, a Hillary Clinton Administration probably won’t have a fiscally conscious GOP-led Congress around to make her look good. Little if anything in what Mrs. Clinton wants to do would substantively improve the economy, and many of her ideas would clearly make things worse.

Following a long tradition with Democratic presidential contenders, Old Media isn’t exploring the potential negative economic impact of what Mrs. Clinton is proposing.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (021808)

This story isn’t ringing true for me:

Throughout the event, as (former president Bill) Clinton made his case for his wife, (Robert) Holeman’s dissenting voice could be heard. At times he simply shouted Obama’s name. When Clinton would set up a sure applause line, Holeman could be heard heckling. As soon as Clinton finished speaking, the Canton native made a beeline to the ropeline to give Clinton a piece of his mind.

“I asked the president to please stop the bickering between the campaigns,” Holeman said in an interview afterwards. “All this name calling is like the bully in the yard. He can’t get his way, he can’t get nothing done.” Holeman said he thought Clinton was “gasping for air.”

“This is the last hurrah. After March 4, Hillary Clinton will be out of the race for good, and Obama will take the commanding lead,” he said. “She should back him with her delegates immediately. That’s what I’m asking them to do.”

*** UPDATE *** Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt said Holeman was “absolutely not” a plant by the campaign. And a spokesperson for President Clinton who was near the president said there was no physical contact.

There’s no Canton-area listing for “Canton native” Robert Holeman at InfoSpace, and no “home listing” (with or without a phone number) for ANY Canton-area Holeman at 411.com. In fact, there’s only one Robert Holeman listed for all of Ohio, and his estimated age doesn’t tie in.

I also find it interesting that security for the husband of The Queen of Plants allowed “Holeman,” or whoever he really is, to interrupt Mr. Clinton so frequently, and to get so close to him. Also, was MSNBC “encouraged” to follow up with the Obama campaign, which as far as I know has never been accused of placing plants, or did it follow up without prodding?

Finally, as to the “When Clinton would set up a sure applause line” part — Where does a lone heckler get that kind of impeccable timing?

Of course, I haven’t proven anything, but given Mrs. Clinton’s past record, “somebody” should be digging — and hard. I wonder if anyone who tries will be able to find Mr. “Holeman” today?

Posted in longer form at NewsBusters.org. NewsBusters has deleted its version of this post on the grounds that the evidence is too thin. I respect their decision to do as they wish with their blog, but I feel comfortable that what is presented above is presented properly as somewhat speculative but worthy of consideration. I intend to get more evidence on the existence or non-existence of “Robert Holeman” in the coming days, and will reveal it when known.

Also: Did Mr. “Holeman” self-characterize as a “Canton native” to avoid telling reporters where he’s really living now?

UPDATE, Feb. 19: According to the Stark County Board of Elections (county seat is Canton), a Robert Holeman was registered to vote until 1999, when his registration was cancelled for non-activity. The Stark County person I spoke with also did a statewide search, and found no other Robert Holeman besides the one mentioned earlier whose age doesn’t tie in.

I discussed registration cancellation procedures with an official at the Warren County Board of Elections (my home county). That person indicated that cancellation procedures begin after a person has not voted in two “general elections,” which, as they define it, only occur in presidential election years.

This would indicate, if it’s the same guy, that this person, who according to the MSNBC report “said he did support Bill Clinton during his campaigns,” didn’t support him enough to vote for him in 1996 or 1992.

So a guy who doesn’t vote, and who may not even live in the area (remember that there is no evidence has been found that he lives anywhere in Ohio), gets motivated to go out and heckle a former president, and then to get in his face in a rope line? Not, adding, up.

UPDATE 2, Feb. 19: There is other indirect evidence. There is only one Robert Holeman listed at 411.com in semi-nearby Pennsylvania — and he is in Philadelphia, about 250 miles away. Various Google searches yielded no results relating to any Northeast Ohio-based Robert Holeman.

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Fiddle-dee-oops.

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If you live in California, a Globaloney curriculum (“globaloney” being shorthand around here for “global warming” and “climate change” hysteria) appears to be on its way to a school near you.

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Even if I weren’t giving Ford grief about suicidally ignoring the boycott by the American Family Association over the company’s proactive gay-agenda support, I would calling out the following exercise in corporate self-delusion:

Ford hopes buyouts help morale, bottom line

The current round of early retirement and buyout offers to most of Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. hourly workers will give them options to move on with their lives, but it also will help the automaker’s bottom line, according to Ford executives.

….. Joe Hinrichs, group vice president of global manufacturing, and Marty Mulloy, vice president for labor affairs, said this week in an interview that getting to the lower-tier wage scale is not the prime reason for offering the packages.

Yes, they want to improve the company’s profitability, but they also believe the packages will keep up morale as workers adjust to a new, smaller Ford that is sized to match customer demand for its cars and trucks.

At least in the short-term, the “bottom line” part of the improvement is probably true, though what constitutes “improvement” may be a smaller loss and not a profit. It’s the “morale” part that is probably wishful thinking by Hinrichs and Mulloy.

Most who have been through buyout situations like these will tell you that in general, the people you’d rather keep are more likely to leave, and the ones you’d like to see take a hike all too often don’t. The better employees who leave take with them quite a bit of institutional memory that simply doesn’t get passed on to those who stay, and the newbies who come on board.

Positivity: Father Writes About Child’s Survival

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Miramar, Florida:

Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience.

David and Susan Loewenstein of western Miramar were prepared for that — but not for their baby Rachel who arrived four months early, weighed only 18 ounces and was only 12 inches long.

David Loewenstein, now a University of Miami psychiatry professor, chronicles his family’s fight for their infant’s survival in his new book, For the Love of Rachel.

At one point his ”tiny warrior” dropped to only 14 ounces. Doctors took out a third of her intestine and then told the family the situation was hopeless.

“She was the best DNR [do not resuscitate] case they had ever seen at Jackson,” David said .

”Our family gathered to say the last goodbyes,” he wrote on a blog on amazon.com.

”It was an emotional roller coaster,” added his wife Susan.

Still, they — and tiny Rachel — refused to give up.

They ended up in a nine-month battle in the neonatal intensive care unit.

But they and Rachel emerged victorious. Today Rachel is 12 and making straight As at Glades Middle.

”I feel that Rachel is a true miracle,” said Susan, a registered nurse.

Added the proud papa on his blog: “Despite the challenges of mild cerebral palsy, hearing and vision, she is the most happiest and loveable child imaginable with a tremendous sense of humor.”

He and Susan married in 1992. They had trouble conceiving and used in-vitro treatment. Rachel was born at only 23 weeks gestation — at the narrow edge for survival in 1995.

”They gave her a 1 in 10,000 chance to live,” said Loewenstein.

Today they are a family of four.

The Loewensteins traveled to China to adopt their daughter Amy in 2001. She’s now 7.

”Amy is very independent, very obstinate, but very sweet,” said Susan. “A very artistic and fun little girl.”

Born in Cutler Ridge and a graduate of Miami Killian Senior High School, David said he always knew he wanted to combine his love of the sciences with his desire to help people.

”When he was in the eighth grade, he worked with ESE students, and was class president,” said his mother, Arline Loewenstein, a retired child psychologist.

David is now a tenured professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, as well as co-director of the Wien Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

”My work is in adult brain research, so I never really thought that I would be writing a book for parents. But, if it can help other people, you can’t really ask for anything else,” he said.

”Nobody comes into the world with a manual and life sometimes does not deal children every advantage. As a parent, whether you have a child with special needs or not, the goal is to optimize their lives as much as possible,” he added. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.