1993 Revisited, Revisited - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
1993 Revisited, Revisited

It’s also worth noting that Bill Clinton took office during a growing economy. Despite running against the worst economy since the Great Depression, the recession had actually ended in March 1991 — more than a year and a half before the 1992 election. While Clinton and his tax-raising budget were less popular than Obama and his stimulus, that’s an advantage Obama doesn’t have.

Conservatives overstated the negative economic effects of Clinton’s tax increase which, while large — largest in history! — in terms of gross tax take was fairly modest in how it boosted marginal tax rates. A good case could be made that the Clinton tax increase slowed economic growth, and both growth and job creation were still anemic by the time of the 1994 elections. But conservatives and Republicans were predicting a return to the 1990-91 recession or worse. When the economy boomed later in the decade and the deficits turned into surpluses, Democrats like Dick Gephardt were able to campaign against unanimous Republican opposition to the Clinton tax hikes:

Let me just say this: We’ve got a great story for the American people, and the middle class and all the people of the country. We did this. I led the fight for the Clinton economic program in 1993. It created 22 million new jobs. We didn’t get a Republican vote in the House or the Senate. We passed it by one vote in both houses. And it’s clear we get this. We know how to do this. They do not. If you want to live like a Republican, you’ve got to vote for the Democrats, and we’ve proven it over and over again.

That was during the 2004 election, which Democrats lost. If that didn’t work politically for Democrats not named Bill Clinton, Republicans should be willing to take the risk on this stimulus plan in an economy that may not even have bottomed out yet. It is risky for all the reasons Dave notes. But if Republicans are right about the economics about this, then the politics will probably favor them in the long term. If wrong about the economics, who cares about the politics?

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