Our country voted for change when we elected Barack Obama President in 2008. The country badly needed change since the economy was in a near Depression and we were bogged down in two failed wars. When President Obama took office in 2009, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month, middle class wages were down, 8 million Americans had lost their health insurance and the Dow Jones was hovering around a low of 6,500. President Obama inherited the worst situation since Franklin Roosevelt in 1933.
President Obama and the Democratic led Congress got to work and passed the auto rescue, the 2009 Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Every prominent Republican predicted that Obama’s policies would fail. Mitt Romney said we could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if the administration’s policy was implemented and that we would should let Detroit “go bankrupt.” John Boehner infamously predicted that Obama’s policies would cause “Armageddon” and “ruin the country.” Not to be outdone, Ben Sasse boldly predicted in 2013 that the ACA would cause America to “cease to exist.”
Those predictions from the Republican Party proved to be spectacularly wrong. We are now enjoying the best economic recovery since Bill Clinton’s second term. Since early 2013, approximately 200,000 new jobs have been created every month. The unemployment rate has fallen from 10% to 4.9%. The auto industry has enjoyed record profits. The Dow Jones has nearly tripled from 6,500 to 18,000. Finally, the ACA has insured 20 million Americans and reduced the uninsured rate from 18% to an all time low of 9%.
A recent Census Bureau report confirmed that the economy continues to grow stronger. According to this non-partisan report, real median household income increased by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015. This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the Bush recession of 2008-09. In addition, this report indicated that poverty has fallen from 15% at the end of the Bush recession to 13.5% in 2015. This 1.5% point decrease in the poverty rate from since the end of the Bush recession, constitutes the largest percentage point drop in poverty since the Clinton Administration in 1999.
The strengthening recovery which we’ve experienced over the last 76 months is proof that the change promised by President Obama eight years ago is working. As President, Hillary Clinton will continue and build on that change. Clinton – like Obama – supports the successful policy of middle class economics. As President, Clinton would build on and expand Obama’s policies by funding infrastructure improvements by raising taxes on the top .01% of income earners, make broadband internet service available to every household, implement middle class tax credits, raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour, protect collective bargaining rights and reduce child care costs.
A recent report by the non-partisan Moody’s Analytics projects that Clinton’s economic proposals would create 10.4 million jobs or 3.2 million more than expected under the present laws. The rate of GDP growth would increase from the present projection of an annual average of 2.3% to 2.7%. Moody’s contended that Clinton’s proposals on immigration, investments in infrastructure and paid family leave would bring more people into the workforce. According to Moody’s: “The upshot of our analysis is that Secretary Clinton’s economic policies when taken together will result in a stronger U.S. economy under almost any scenario.”
Hillary Clinton has a proven track record of economic success as the First Lady in the first Clinton Administration. When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, he repeatedly said you would get: “Two for the price of one.” President Clinton kept that promise and Hillary was his top adviser during the eight years of his Presidency.
Like President Obama, Bill Clinton inherited a mess from his GOP predecessors. Middle class incomes were in decline and we were experiencing (then) record budget deficits. In 1993, Bill Clinton proposed a budget that consisted of spending cuts and increased taxes on the wealthy. Every prominent Republican predicted that Clinton’s budget would cause a recession and increase the deficit.
The predictions of doom and gloom by the Republicans in 1993 were every bit as wrong as the ones they made in Obama’s first term. President Clinton’s economic program proved to be a huge success. When President Clinton left office in early 2001, unemployment was 4%, poverty had been reduced to 12%, middle class wages were up and there was a projected 10 year budget surplus of $5 trillion. Unfortunately, all of that progress was squandered by Bush and the Republican Congress during the disastrous Bush Administration.
If elected, Trump – like Bush – would destroy all of the hard won gains of the last eight years. Trump’s economic strategy would bring back George W. Bush’s failed policies. Like Bush, Trump supports a multi-trillion dollar deficit financed tax cut for the wealthy and the deregulation of big business. Trump doesn’t only support deregulating Wall Street again – he even supports ending food safety regulation.
As President, Trump would blow up the deficit and cause a recession. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Trump’s proposals would add over $10 trillion to the national debt. Moreover, no less than three bi-partisan sources – Moody’s Analytics, Citigroup, Inc. and Oxford Economics – have forecast that Trump’s plans would trigger a global recession. The combination of his trade wars, deficit financed tax cuts for the top 1% and the forced deportation of 11 million aspiring Americans would tank the economy and bring back 2008 all over again.
The choice this year is between maintaining and expanding on President Obama’s promised change or going back to the failed policies of the George W. Bush Administration. Hillary Clinton crystalized the high stakes for this election in a recent speech: “And I will say that there does seem to be a pattern. Democratic presidents — and there’s two in particular I’m thinking about — over the last 35 years seem to inherit a mess of problems. Have you noticed that? So then they have to dig us out of the ditches they find themselves in and put us back on the right track. And of course, I’m talking about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Are we going to hand over our country once again to the people and policies that crashed our economy before and that will shred the progress that we’ve made?”
As Democrats, we must work hard to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. The stakes couldn’t be any higher this year. If Clinton is elected President, we can expect continued economic growth, rising wages and fewer uninsured Americans. In the unlikely event Trump wins, the country would go back to the dark years of the Bush Administration when thousands of Americans were killed in foreign wars and the economy collapsed. Under President Obama, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than eight short years ago?