The economy-bashing began with the recession in 2001, and kept going strong throughout the recovery and aggressive expansion that transformed the skylines of American cities and put SUVs in many garages, aragula stews in many pots, Starbuck's coffees in many hands, flat-screen plasma televisions on many living room walls, and the Internet at most every fingertip.
And yet the last eight years have been characterized as some kind of free fall from the supposed paradise of the Clinton Era-- which itself had supposedly transformed the economy of the preceding Reagan-Bush 41 Dark Ages into an economic Rennaissance.
However, to say that America was "transformed" during the rare Democratic executive leadership from 1992-2000--as the Clintons and the Democrats peddle-- is not accurate.
The Reagan-Bush 41 years themselves were transformative, bringing us out of the Post-Vietnam doldrums and climaxing with the dramatic--and bloodless--implosion of the Soviet Union, leaving the United States of America the sole-surviving Super Power and the wealthiest and undisputed leader of the Free World.
That was the situation Bill Clinton inherited-- with a mild recession he characterized during the campaign as "The Worst Since The Great Depression" already over and the recovery underway before he even took office.
But it would take many years to sweep up the pieces of the Cold War and of renovating and repositioning to set the globalized stage for the new era we live in now (though the Berlin Wall came down at the start of Bush 41's term, the Soviet Union would be officially declared dead at the start of Clinton's first term).
The economy--or "New Economy," as Clinton himself correctly identified it--in tandem with the Post-Cold War restructuring of a geopolitical "New World Order" (as post-Gulf War Bush 41 identified it) was in the process of transforming-- or transitioning-- throughout the 1990s.
The real driver of the economic boom in the final years of the transitive 1990s--i.e. the Technological Revolution, seeded well before 1992-- rather quietly spread its roots underground through most of the decade.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton took the opportunity of the respite between the two epochs to celebrate himself (having the stage practically all to himself, though he had to share the limelight at times with the likes of Madonna-In-Her-Prime and O.J. Simpson), with an adoring media and world enabling the orgiastic indulgence.
All along the seedling--conceived in the Department of Defense many years before and cultivated in Silicon Valley--having taken firm root, sprouted and grew beneath the radar...
...and then sprung skyward near the end of the second term, surprising everyone how majestic the tree was.
And thanks primarily to the husbandry of Bill for it.
That's private citizen Bill Gates.
And here we are, having built treehouses in it.
We enjoy an ability to communicate that was unimaginable a decade ago. Our ways of life have been transformed well beyond the luxury of blogging and include the ability to instantly access news of the world, entire libraries of information, department stores for shopping, and even our bank accounts 24/7 at our fingertips, all without leaving our homes (or our chairs, for that matter).
That is a profound, transformative sea-change for humanity at-large that is on par with previous revolutions like the Agricultural and Industrial in significance for human history (understand that, and appreciate the time you live in with its unprecedented bounties and benefits).
Self-conscious that he had nothing to do with this tree--which was the bloom of the economic boom at the end of the 1990's-- but needful of attention and credit, to this day Clinton tries to inject himself into its fruition by saying that his 1993 historically-huge tax-hike was responsible for "paving the way" because it lowered interest rates.
That's a lie. Interest rates jumped immediately upon enactment of the tax-hike, and he must know that.
His vice president and presidential aspirant Al Gore also tried to inject himself into the fruition by saying that he "invented the Internet."
Both injections indicate that they both knew that they were really on the sidelines and wanted some credit for the real action on the entrepreneurial field of private enterprise.
Nevertheless, it is only the Tech Boom at the end of the second term--and the bells and whistles echoing from the exuberance--that underlies the myth of an Eden--economical and otherwise-- that the Democrats invoke to this day to draw as a contrast to the Fall from it as caused by the Republican Bush's alleged multifarious Sins Against The Planet.
True transformation did indeed set in after 2001. The country-- and the world-- today is much different than it was during the 1990s decade, which was a brief--and often bizzare--interregnum between the end of the epic Cold War and the last millennium and the post-9/11 world at the beginning of the new one, which itself began with the economy suffering the blows of 9/11, the popping of the Tech bubble, and the mega-corporate scandals in the first year or two of the new Bush Administration, all paying the piper for the reckless, irrational excesses of "The Clinton Show" interregnum.
This picture of the Washington Monument undergoing renovation for years during the Clinton second term best symbolizes the transitive nature of the interregnum, a national adolescence for the country after two centuries of infancy and childhood, and now here wearing braces:
The unveiling of the strenghthened monument came with the adulthood of the Bush 43 Administration as the new millennium began, ready to take on real-world challenges-- well beyond the domestic disfunctions of government shutdowns and go-to-your-room impeachment, temper-tantrum compelled--and accordingly fleeting--military spectacles, and road trips and junkets abroad that are characteristic of adolescents (while bin Laden explicitly declared war on "the people of the United States"--twice--and, having observed the United States as being a "paper tiger," fearlessly planned 9/11 in full confidence).
Along with merciless--and expensive-- natural disasters on top of 9/11 and the rest, nevertheless, amazingly, by the end of Bush's two terms, the nation pulled out of the recession and embarked on a stellar recovery, confronting the enemy we are at war with on their own turf while re-capturing our status as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world in the process, still at the vanguard of the Cause of Freedom, and dead serious about it.
We are still Ronald Reagan's "Shining City on a Hill," still are the favorite destination place of the world's poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and still lift our lamp beside the golden door.
The Left are liars. The Clinton era was an intermittent sideshow of reckless buffoonery that had the luck of finishing off just as the Tech Revolution took off and created wealth and an exuberance that saved Clinton from conviction and removal from office when Impeached for perjury, subornation of perjury, and obstruction of justice in a political--not jurisdictional--forum.
(When a real court of law got a hold of the case after he left office, it saw fit to suspend Clinton of his license to practice law; further punishment was plea-bargained away. The news of that was buried by 9/11, which occurred almost to the day of the verdict.).
To howlingly call President Bush "The Worst President in History!"--and a liar, no less--immediately on the heels of such a presidency can only be vindictive projection.
If the howlers are to be believed, America, as an entity, stopped producing, stopped getting wealthier, and went into negative territory across-the-board approximately eight years ago.
You keep hearing that the economy was "better" (the nation richer?) during the Clinton interregnum, and that the Bush 43 terms "took us backward" (i.e. made us a nation less rich than before?), that we, as a nation, in effect, are not better off than we were eight years ago.
But here is the simple, bottom line:
Nominal GNP (in billions of dollars)--
The nominal figures were used because the real one for April of 2008 is unavailable, but it should not significantly compromise the breadth of the differential between both nominal figures.
That's solid, macroeconomic growth--four trillion worth and then some, in fact-- and that growth is remarkable with all the catastrophic troubles and challenges the economy suffered in Bush's first term, which includes the aggressive talking-down of it throughout by vociferous, Bush-hating media outlets (on the mainstream airwaves and in the submarine blogosphere alike), which surely affects consumer confidence to one degree or another (which is a driving force of the economy, as the talking-downers must know).
Put another way, were the "In-The-Toilet Bush Economy" to lose four trillion dollars plus in GNP, it would be where the "Stratospheric Clinton Economy" was when Clinton left office.
The reality simply does not match the rhetoric.
There is a slowdown underway, but that follows every boom (a boom that was spitefully never acknowledged when booming, incidentally, by the howlers).
History indicates--if not outright proves--that the ebb and flow of economic performance is cyclical, and wavy, and rushes in and inundates, but then recedes and leaves many high and dry, like sea-tides.
Bush's moon is in its waning, last quarter, and the tide he presided over appears to be receding, but he and his team managed the flood-gates and aqueducts of fiscal policy well (the Act of God on the levees of New Orleans notwithstanding).
That's the best--and most--a president can do (and should do).
The new Millennium began with a bang but the last eight years were mostly a Time of Plenty in America. That's self-evident. And they're ending more bountiful--by the numbers, from GNP to the sheer number of those employed, and yes, still, housed--than any other time before.
For any nation in the history of the world.
Economics 101 teaches us that human desire is limitless, insatiable.
People will always have less than what they want.
Donald Trump, for example, always seems to need one more building.
It is easy to exploit that part of human nature and make everyone feel wanting. It is easy to create a need that didn't exist before and offer to satisfy it.
And it can be easy to convince some people who are otherwise happy and content that they are really miserable and should be seeking change.
Our consumer-driven economy counts on that, for there's a price to pay.
There will always be opposition dissidents, malcontents, and propagandists insisting that the eternally half-full glass of the status quo is not only half-empty, but completely dry (if not smashed into pieces on the ground), if only to make us thirsty by suggestion, and so Hopeful for Change.
And they will exploit the notorious, short-term memory of the good American people by harking back to some mythical Eden before the Fall, to a land flowing with Milk & Honey--e.g. The Clinton Years--and promise a return to them.
And to satisfy the thirst--and to allay the fomented fear of dying of it-- this time (even though it's a quadrennial thing) they offer a messianic candidate who promises to replenish and fill the glass to the brim (and even make it overflow into new rivers of Milk & Honey) for us to consider as an alternative to a parched palate and four more years of despairing.
While listening to all that however, just keep in mind that the economy of the United States of America is bigger now than it has ever been. We are the wealthiest country in the history of civilization, which should make you realize not only that the glass has been filled to the brim all along, but that what the opposition is offering is Kool Aid that may be colorful and sweet, but very low in nutrients, and dubiously mixed, and has a price to pay.