Video: Could we use a man like Bill Clinton again?

posted at 2:15 pm on February 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Bear with Dan Mitchell for a moment. The Obama administration, which just released its budget proposal today, proposes expanded domestic federal spending (which they call “investments”) while the economy stagnates.  Mitchell, in another of his Econ 101 series from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, argues that successful government policy should at the minimum keep domestic spending increases at a lower rate than overall GDP growth, and if possible shrink it.  That may be especially true while entitlement spending explodes, with Baby Boomers flooding into retirement systems and younger wage earners share more of the burden of their benefits.

As Mitchell notes, two Presidents over the last 40 years have managed to do this, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — and Clinton managed to actually shrink the relative share of GDP going to domestic spending:

Of course, Mitchell uses Clinton to make a point that Democrats and Republicans alike could choose to succeed in these policies, but the difference in the case of Clinton was the 1994 midterm election.  After Republicans took control of the House and Senate, Clinton had a choice as to whether to go along with Republican attempts to cut domestic spending and get credit for the effort, or to fight them and share blame for the failure.  Clinton actually chose to do a little of both, outboxing Newt Gingrich in the 1995 government shutdown but otherwise co-opting the GOP policy of spending cuts, as Mitchell notes.

Barack Obama has that same opportunity.  He has a Republican House, but the key difference is that Democrats still control the Senate – at least for now.  That allowed Obama to make nothing more than cursory cuts in his latest budget proposal, a pose that Mitchell skewers on his blog post yesterday.


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…only if we had a Congress like Clinton had, too.

DrAllecon on February 14, 2011 at 2:19 PM

“The difference is, you got me.”

And that means America is in deep, deep trouble.

Bishop on February 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Bishop on February 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

ding ding ding

cmsinaz on February 14, 2011 at 2:26 PM

I don’t know, all I know is that right now we need a whole lot of less Obama…

right2bright on February 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Apparently, there’s a man like Bill Clinton running Italy.

Kafir on February 14, 2011 at 2:32 PM

…only if we had a Congress like Clinton had, too.

Exactly.

BobH on February 14, 2011 at 2:33 PM

The Myth of The Clinton Surplus http://bit.ly/lUVr

Winghunter on February 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Graphic: “Aided by Peace Dividend, total spending burden falls during Clinton years.”

Ah, the “Peace Dividend”. I remember those buzz words well. Cutting the military in the dreamy hopes that conflict is over tra la, tra la so that domestic spending can increase.

Buy Danish on February 14, 2011 at 2:37 PM

I don’t know, all I know is that right now we need a whole lot of less Obama…

right2bright on February 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

and Pelosi, and Reid, and McCain, and Fwank, and… wait should I go on?

upinak on February 14, 2011 at 2:38 PM

“I Won”

search4truth on February 14, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Yes, we could use a man like Clinton again.

That’s one thing Obama has done to me. Actually make me wistful for the Presidency of Clinton. Billy was by far better than who we have now.

Vyce on February 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Could we use a man like Bill Clinton again?

Aaah, for a time when goils were goils and men were men.

UltimateBob on February 14, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Yes, we could use a man like Clinton again.

Or all you need to do is restore spending to 2000 levels, including military and intelligence, while raising taxes to 2000 levels. And then add some structural cuts to entitlement programs.

But the problem is that spending cuts have turned into a political game, with each side proposing largely symbolic programs that the other side can’t accept. Only when Republicans start calling for cuts to defense spending and Dems accept cuts to social security will anything substantial happen.

bayam on February 14, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The cigar industry agrees.

Bishop on February 14, 2011 at 2:43 PM

That’s one thing Obama has done to me. Actually make me wistful for the Presidency of Clinton. Billy was by far better than who we have now.

Look at what Billy did compared to Bush’s 40% spending increase during the first 6 years when the GOP also controlled the Congress, and you’ll see that he looks like a budget saint compared to either Bush or Obama.

bayam on February 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Barry just doesn’t get it. Nancy doesn’t hold the purse strings any longer.

GarandFan on February 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Look at what Billy did compared to Bush’s 40% spending increase during the first 6 years when the GOP also controlled the Congress, and you’ll see that he looks like a budget saint compared to either Bush or Obama.

bayam on February 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

But Jeb will be different! We swear.

/National Review

mankai on February 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Could we use a man like Bill Clinton again?
Aaah, for a time when goils were goils and men were men.

UltimateBob on February 14, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Gee, our old Tercel ran great!

DOOF on February 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Obama’s Madoff investments.

Kini on February 14, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Every time I hear/read the phrase “cut defense spending” I cringe. I hope that people mean cutting defense obligations and operations. Cutting defense spending means keeping the same amount of troops occupied in conflicts and operations but lessening their supplies, or even cutting the number of troops to do the job their trying to accomplish. Both of those things are terrible ideas. If you want to lower defense spending, let’s work on ending those nasty “foreign entanglements” we’re so enmeshed in nowadays.

Living4Him5534 on February 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Yes, we could use a man like Clinton again.

That’s one thing Obama has done to me. Actually make me wistful for the Presidency of Clinton. Billy was by far better than who we have now.

Vyce on February 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Sounds like a win-win situation. Clinton could be Obama’s Press Secretary, and Obama can spend more time with his family. Unlike Obama, Clinton might be willing to keep the Suez Canal open.

Steve Z on February 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Gee, our old Tercel ran great!

DOOF on February 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Didn’t need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled their weight.

UltimateBob on February 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM

From Bloomberg. Just staggering. Note well the percentage comparison to Greece.

The amount of marketable U.S. government debt outstanding has risen to $8.96 trillion from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008, according to the Treasury Department. Debt-service costs will climb to 82 percent of the $757 billion shortfall projected for 2016 from about 12 percent in last year’s deficit, according to the budget projections.

Budget Proposal
That compares with 69 percent for Portugal, whose bonds have plummeted on speculation it may need to be bailed out by the European Union and International Monetary Fund

a capella on February 14, 2011 at 3:19 PM

The amount of marketable U.S. government debt outstanding has risen to $8.96 trillion from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008, according to the Treasury Department.

Despite these big numbers, I have trouble ignoring economists who point to low unemployment as the biggest threat to closing the budget gap. Japan exemplifies this scenario. As long as people are out of work, tax revenues will remain artificially low. You can end up cutting fed spending, to the extent is politically possible, and still fail to address the underlying problem.

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/barack_obama/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/02/14/reich_obama_budget

bayam on February 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM

What people keep forgetting about the economy in the Clintoon years is that the ’90s was when the internet became a hub for commerce instead of just a hobby for geeks. Bill Clintoon was re-elected in 2006 in part because all those angry unemployed factory workers in 1994 were complacent phone jockeys and shipping clerks by 1996.

Cutting defense spending did not produce the balanced budgets. It was the combination of spending cuts by a Republican Congress coupled with the increased tax revenue from dotcom millionaires.

Sekhmet on February 14, 2011 at 3:30 PM

increased tax revenue from dotcom millionaires.

Not even close to the economic facts. The 1990′s internet bubble contributed very, very little to GDP. Dot com millionaires were far fewer than the urban legends would have you believe (and far fewer than what today’s internet companies are producing).

bayam on February 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

The bubble itself may have contributed little, but the e-commerce that lay under the bubble was an economic game changer

Sekhmet on February 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM

why yes. Yes we could use a man like Bill Clinton now. We even had one, her name is Hillary. She has more cojones than anyone the Ds or Rs ran on the top of the ticket.

balanced budgets, GROWING the pie instead of redistributing it..

and please aim your fire at Greenspan for the tech bubble. THAT is where the problem is, the FED will not allow cyclical economics 101 to take place..

the intervene everytime a small recession comes due and blow things up to insane levels then we crash

ginaswo on February 14, 2011 at 5:55 PM

ironically if Dubyah DOJ had not dropped the Mr Softee (Microsoft) antitrust case, the tech sector could have kept expanding for another decade.

just sayin’.

ginaswo on February 14, 2011 at 6:00 PM

hmm who was it who democratized stock markets, leading to millions of Americans having IRAs and brokerage accounts, who was that man who LOWERED cap gains taxes?

oh yeah Bill Clinton.

who was that man who ended welfare as we knew it and made WORK part of the system, ending generations of public assistance and lifting more people out of color than anyone since Johnson?

oh yeah Bill Clinton.

who killed that welfare reform as one of their first acts? Obama

who proposes raising cap gains, dividend rates and bring back the proposed income taxation on hedgie managers carried interest dealings? yep Obama in this budget.

and the schmucks on Wall ST did everything humanly possible to hand Obama the nomination over HRC, precisely b/c of her position on taxing carried interest as income, and because she proposed HOLC, which would have put a FLOOR on the housing crisis, and given us recourse on mortgage defaults..things the TBTF abhorred

instead they sold us Obama and housing is going down for the count again, walkaways are growing, Obama has flipped on the street and is going after hedgie carried interest anyway

frakkin morons

Romney 12
Hillary 16

ginaswo on February 14, 2011 at 6:04 PM

lol

Typo of the year that one was, it should have said:

/

lifting more people of color out of poverty

ginaswo on February 14, 2011 at 6:05 PM