Skip

By Their Bootstraps
June 29, 2004 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Consider the scorecard. During Clinton's two terms, the median income for American families increased by a solid 15% after inflation, according to Census Bureau figures. But it rose even faster for African Americans (33%) and Hispanics (24%) than it did for whites (14%). The growth was so widely shared that from 1993 through 1999, families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution saw their incomes increase faster than those in the top 5%. By comparison, under President Reagan in the 1980s, those in the top 5% increased their income more than five times faster than the bottom 20%. Likewise, the poverty rate under Clinton fell 25%, the biggest eight-year decline since the 1960s. It fell even faster for particularly vulnerable groups like blacks, Hispanics and children. Again the contrast with Reagan is striking. During Reagan's two terms, the number of Americans in poverty fell by just 77,000. During Clinton's two terms, the number of Americans in poverty plummeted by 8.1 million. The number of children in poverty fell by 50,000 under Reagan. Under Clinton the number was 4.1 million. That's a ratio of 80 to 1. Clinton's Biggest Gains Not on Conservative Critics' Radar
posted by y2karl (44 comments total)

 
As Kevin Drum notes,

Under Clinton, the poor and middle class also benefited, and this was not just a coincidence. It was the result of deliberate policy choices inspired by a belief that when the economy grows, everyone should benefit. Conservatives do more than simply disparage this: they ignore it, and it's a telling ignorance. Perhaps more than anything, it tells you everything you need to know about the values and character of modern conservatism, and it's not a pretty picture.
posted by y2karl at 8:55 AM on June 29, 2004


If you like nuclear and bombs and hate poor people, of course you're going to like Reagan more than Clinton. This article won't change any minds because conservatives use very different units for measuring leadership than the author of the article.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:03 AM on June 29, 2004


All I know about any of it is my dad was laid off under Bush 1, got a job a little while after Clinton came into office and just got laid off a few months ago.
posted by @homer at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2004


"...like nuclear bombs and hate..."
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2004


fess up, you're just shooting for some MeTa police callout all-time record, right?
posted by badstone at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2004


Can't we wait until the flags are back at full-mast before we attack the man's memory? I'm no fan of Reagan's, but I feel this is in poor taste.
posted by ChasFile at 9:05 AM on June 29, 2004


attack the man's memory?

Obviously that was poorly worded, especially considering the Alzheimer's. Sorry. *Legacy
posted by ChasFile at 9:07 AM on June 29, 2004


Can't we wait until the flags are back at full-mast before we attack the man's memory?

Not as long as there are sick fuckers who want to start bulding memorials before that bastard's body is cold. For every person saying that he was awful, there's a Freeper comparing him to Lincoln. This way it sort of evens out.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:09 AM on June 29, 2004


@homer, there's a lot of that going around...

It's the old "rising tide lifts all boats" but you have to target it--Clinton did it toward the majority of the population (the middle class and poor), and Reagan and all the Bushes did it towards the top, hoping they'd then piss down on the poor and middle class, which never ever happens.

The economy and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 93 are the shining legacies of Clinton's terms, i think.
posted by amberglow at 9:10 AM on June 29, 2004


How many thousands of dead Nicaraguan peasants, Guatemalan Indians, and South African activists do we need to account for before we can "attack the man's memory?"

Nothing could tick the Republicans off more during an election year than the memory of peace, prosperity, and active intelligence service, and the occasional bl*w j*b.
posted by zaelic at 9:13 AM on June 29, 2004


Clinton had very little to do with the good economic times in the 90's, but he was able to use them to balance the budget. Clinton also proved, and this really irks conservatives, that raising taxes will not stifle economic growth.

If we have learned anything from the last 24 years it's that tax cuts have very little effect on the economy, business runs in cycles, and there is nothing we can do about it.

Now the redistribution of wealth upwards during the Reagan, and BushII years really irks me, both times we were sold a bill of goods that tax cuts for the rich helps everyone, but the facts don't back up the idea. With Bush, the business cycle is finally swinging back the other way so he wants us to believe it was his tax cuts that caused the growth, when we all know this is a debt driven bump caused by low interest rates.
posted by jbou at 9:21 AM on June 29, 2004


poor taste......
poor. I've had it. I have seen to many good people lose there jobs and are struggling. I'm pissed and want something done. Sure this is just plain hope rhetoric but dam, debate cannot have a 30 day grace period for a president that has died. I do not think kerry could do a better job, but maybe. I think bush had squandered his chance on informing the people just WTF he can do to help this economy. The rich are "hurting too" having to lay off more people, profits shrinking, orders falling and only rising in spurts. But this is far worse then i ever expected. of course this comes from a limited perspective from the poverty ridden county that I live in.

Karl, great post. Conservatives do more than simply disparage this: they ignore it, and it's a telling ignorance. I agree, it is being ignored, it is as if it were the "recession has no clothes" here. Many are unemployed or are under employed and even banks are starting to give the small fellas and ladies a break at times, at least from my view, as in BANK OVERDRAFTS, frikkin 30 billion $'s they made the year before. I said in another thread it is perhaps we are so rich that we can afford to be late, I'm thinking, for many, they have little choice. Late on the bills but still trying and people get bad credit ratings for TRYING, trying to at least met part of thier obligations.

if this thread is to be more or meet the information provided it must rise up to what is said, by YOU. Bury the dead and focus on the living here. What can be said to help give a further perspective. Get off the deads soapbox and contribute something to this thread. What can be done, what can government not do and do at THIS point. what can we all do, is there better news or a better way of governing the tax dollars?
posted by clavdivs at 9:29 AM on June 29, 2004


All I know about any of it is my dad was laid off under Bush 1, got a job a little while after Clinton came into office and just got laid off a few months ago.
But then, he is a dry-cleaner with an uncanny ability to anonymously remove those difficult to remove stains.

* rimshot *
posted by seanyboy at 9:38 AM on June 29, 2004


Democrats believe that what is best for our country are policies that benefit middle and low-income families. Republicans believe that what is best for our country are policies that benefit businesses and corporations.

Both policies have their pros and cons, but the politics of the last 20 years have proven this true over and over again. Everything else (abortion, death penalty, gun ownership) is just window-dressing.
posted by junkbox at 9:44 AM on June 29, 2004


When I said this is in poor taste, I meant this:

If you like nuclear and bombs and hate poor people, of course you're going to like Reagan more than Clinton.

Not the debate over economic strategies. Reagan believed in top-down economics, while Clinton was in favor of more direct assistance. No, we don't have to stop that debate for 30 days, nor will we probably ever stop it.

I just think it kinda sucks that Reagan is turning into a straw man by proxy. One side canonizes, the other villifies, and in the middle the actual meaning of a life and a death evaporate under the pressure. You want to debate the relative merits of various economic policies? Fine. That's what this thread should be about. But I don't believe its nescessary to make ad hominem attacks on those espousing said policies, especially if they are recently deceased and still being mourned. That's all.
posted by ChasFile at 9:47 AM on June 29, 2004


I like nuclear bombs in the sense that I wish I had one. Does that count?

*goes off to search ebay for 'nuclear'*
posted by spazzm at 9:57 AM on June 29, 2004


I just think it kinda sucks that Reagan is turning into a straw man by proxy.

You're right. The Reagan administration loathed increased military spending and was (despite the evidence in the linked article) kind to the needy. But I needed to add that misdirection so that someone would use "straw man" and I would be sure that I was reading Metafilter.

Reagan was about Morning in America and colonoscopy diagrams on the news. Really brought us all together.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:59 AM on June 29, 2004


The rich are "hurting too" having to lay off more people

Yeah, that just breaks my heart...
posted by mkultra at 10:08 AM on June 29, 2004


Clinton had very little to do with the good economic times in the 90's, but he was able to use them to balance the budget.

Clinton and the Democrats also got the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act (in his first year!) through both the House and Senate even though not one single Republican voted for it. "Party of small government and fiscal conservatism" indeed. That's been a complete fiction at least since the moment Reagan took office.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:09 AM on June 29, 2004


Democrats believe that what is best for our country are policies that benefit middle and low-income families. Republicans believe that what is best for our country are policies that benefit businesses and corporations.

The thing is, as has been pointed out, when middle- and low-income families benefit, so do businesses and corporations, because the money that goes to the low- and middle-income families usually goes straight back into the economy, i.e. to the businesses and corporations. Good economic times for the poor are good economic times for everybody.

Does it sound crazy to think that the rich should act as husbandmen of the economy, rather than reavers of it?
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:14 AM on June 29, 2004


Can't we wait until the flags are back at full-mast before we attack the man's memory?

I'm not picking on ChasFile, but this gets at something that has been bugging me since Reagan's death. After September 11th, flags were returned to full mast on the 23rd. I know there are a lot of rules that dictate what is done with the flag and that the rituals were in place long before either of these events, and that there are far more significant and tragic elements to both of them, but this really bothers me. And I would feel the same way if it were Carter or Clinton in Reagan's place.

Obviously the Bush administration is not behind the fact that flags are kept at half mast for 30 days following the death of a former president, but they've been absolute necrophiles since his death. Politicians and their apologists frequently spout that debate on this that or the other subject is inappropriate (criticism of the war when troops are in harm's way for example), but I've never heard one of them stand up and say, "Okay, everyone can start criticizing the president again."

Nuts to that.
posted by alphanerd at 10:15 AM on June 29, 2004


Clinton also proved, and this really irks conservatives, that raising taxes will not stifle economic growth.

Er, I'm not an economist, but I don't think he's proved that. Clinton didn't raise taxes very much, and of course it's unclear what the economy would have been doing apart from what taxes-hikes he did implement. If he proved anything, it's that the economy can overheat in the presence of moderate taxation, which is unsurprising.
posted by Mark Doner at 10:21 AM on June 29, 2004


post hoc ergo propter hoc.
posted by trharlan at 10:39 AM on June 29, 2004


post hoc ergo propter hoc

Hang on, when did the topic shift to Reagan winning the Cold War?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:45 AM on June 29, 2004


Arnold Kling on the Economic Attribution Error.
posted by trharlan at 10:48 AM on June 29, 2004


I'm puzzled about the claim of a downward income redistribution, this is challenged by the Gini indices for the period.
It would be nice if the author cited his raw data sources. It seems that he may be selective as to which indicators he chooses to highlight.
posted by talos at 10:59 AM on June 29, 2004


A Crash Course in Dubyanomics
posted by hama7 at 11:12 AM on June 29, 2004


Psyche!
posted by hama7 at 11:14 AM on June 29, 2004


Metafilter: If you like nuclear and bombs and hate
posted by Outlawyr at 11:27 AM on June 29, 2004


Metafilter: If you like nuclear and bombs and hate

Because if it's not Love
Then it's the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb
That will bring us together
posted by eckeric at 11:34 AM on June 29, 2004


I thought it was the 'bong' that would bring us together.
posted by PigAlien at 11:47 AM on June 29, 2004


I thought flags were still at half-mast for Ray Charles.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:07 PM on June 29, 2004


I'm really happy that the flags are at half mast in honor of all the fallen soldiers in Iraq.
What?
They're not?
For Bonzo's buddy?
Not even for Ray Charles?

Damn bunch of liberals!!
posted by nofundy at 1:17 PM on June 29, 2004


All I know about any of it is my dad was laid off under Bush 1, got a job a little while after Clinton came into office and just got laid off a few months ago.

Such a well thought out brilliant statistical example. Hard to argue with your train of thought. Very sad, however, that your dad's past, present, and future has little to do with his own actions but on the political party in office.

A puppet on a string, that's what your dad is. I'd suggest he quit looking for work until Kerry is elected. Then a job will fall right into his lap.

@homer, there's a lot of that going around...

No it isn't amberglow. What a meaningless statement. You constantly give your opinions (which couldn't be anymore left) with nothing to back them up. And if you're shown statistics that show the economy rising or jobs created you simply won't believe them. Look up idealogue in the dictionary and you'll find your name.

Karl, great post.

Then stick around, karl will have 20 more by next week, with the mayor jumping around urging him on like some kind of shadow on crack. Great post? Best of the web? Ha. Very funny. The best of the web is not the best because it regurgitates what you believe. Certainly you're not that narcissistic.
;)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 1:20 PM on June 29, 2004


No it isn't amberglow. What a meaningless statement. You constantly give your opinions (which couldn't be anymore left) with nothing to back them up. And if you're shown statistics that show the economy rising or jobs created you simply won't believe them. Look up idealogue in the dictionary and you'll find your name.

here you go Dennis, and take a valium or something--I can always back up my statements, unlike many here: U.S. market sees major decline in job quality:
Low-paying positions elbowing aside higher-paying ones, report says.

and:
States still in jobs hole
Notwithstanding recent national job growth, most states still have fewer jobs than when the recession started in March 2001. In fact, most states have not seen strong enough job growth to make a significant dent in their weakened job markets. The weak job market has been reflected nationally in declining real wages in five of the last six months for non-supervisory workers.
Over three years after the start of the recession, and 30 months into the official economic recovery, most states still have not recovered the jobs they lost. Thirty-five states have fewer jobs than when the recession started...

posted by amberglow at 1:31 PM on June 29, 2004


My flag is always at half-mast.

That's why I use Viagra.(tm)
posted by *burp* at 1:46 PM on June 29, 2004



I'm really happy that the flags are at half mast in honor of all the fallen soldiers in Iraq.
What?
They're not?
For Bonzo's buddy?
Not even for Ray Charles?

Damn bunch of liberals!!
posted by nofundy at 3:17 PM CST on June 29


You must be insufferable in real life. When I agree with you I feel unclean.
posted by thirteen at 1:51 PM on June 29, 2004


republicans - programs, tax cuts, and benefits for the wealthy.
democrats - same thing except the poor.

where is all the money for these programs benefits and cuts comming from? citizens. Why not just let people have their money in the first place?

the reason is that doling out the cash gives you the power. You don't get to touch any of the cash, but people like being your friend when you've got the ladel. Both parties have got you convinced that you money is theirs to redistribute 'in the best interest of the nation'

The end result is people start with $5 they earned and end up with $3 that was given to them (unless you've got connections [rich] or you vote in large blocks [poor]) either way its gang warfare trying to gouge the other classes. The other peachy result is that there is a different feeling toward money that you are given and money you earned yourself - being given money breeds inefficient use.

ps - reagan was a monster.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:32 PM on June 29, 2004


I think that the real difference in the economic approaches of the Republican and Democratic parties can be summed up by looking at their macroeconomic philosophies.

The Republicans are traditional Keynesians, who believe in using government spending and tax policy to prop up aggregate demand in an attempt to stimulate the economy. They neglect (equity, debt, and commodity) markets, for the most part, and are willing to build up large government spending deficits with little thought to the long-term repercussions of these deficits on the markets. The Republicans are what would be referred to as the United States' "fiscally liberal" party.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have a more modern approach to macroeconomic policy, based, largely, on monetarism. Under Democratic policies, stimulus is provided by adjustments of monetary policy, while government debt is minimized to avoid negative impacts on the markets. The Democrats are fiscal conservatives.


It's pretty much like bizarro world out there, isn't it?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:14 PM on June 29, 2004


We should treat Reagan's memory with the respect it deserves!
posted by wsg at 3:38 PM on June 29, 2004


hah! Among the items to be entombed with Reagan are 2,500 MX missiles, a golden chalice of jelly beans, and his beloved servant, George Bush Sr.
posted by amberglow at 4:34 PM on June 29, 2004


Thanks, wsg, you reminded me of the Onion. And it made me feel much better.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:16 PM on June 29, 2004


What I wonder is if I was starting frin the same situation I was in ten years ago, could I go as far as I did during the 90s?

I don't think so. And that's a sad thought. A very sad thought.
posted by kmartino at 7:22 PM on June 29, 2004


Good link, karl. Thanks.
posted by homunculus at 8:09 PM on June 29, 2004


« Older sea of cable   |   hi! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post