LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND...
I've always thought of George Shultz as one of the less venal Reaganites, but this (from today's New York Times) is really dishonest: a mini-op-ed piece, accompanied by (in the print edition, at least) a huge chart, all purporting to show that Bush's economic record is more impressive than Clinton's.
When you look at the record, a quick summary is this: President Clinton inherited prosperity; President Clinton bequeathed recession.
No, George -- when you look at the record, a quick summary is this: President Clinton sustained prosperity, and did so for what seemed an impossibly long time.
The chart shows changes in GDP and employment, month by month (each month compared to the same month in the previous year) throughout the presidencies of Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. This is ingeniously dishonest: for instance, Clinton's year-over-year gains in employment by one charted measure bump along at approximately 2% for most of his second term. That's building improvement on improvement. But charted this way, it looks like a flat line.
By the same measure, Bush dips below zero and never gets above zero until 2004 -- but on the chart, that looks like a heroic increase.
By the way, here, from Monday's Times, is some detail about those heroically climbing Bush employment numbers:
Layoffs occurred at the second-fastest rate on record during the first three years of the Bush administration, a government report has found.
In the government's latest survey of how frequently workers are permanently dismissed from their jobs, the layoff rate reached 8.7 percent of all adult jobholders, or 11.4 million men and women age 20 or older. That is nearly equal to the 9 percent rate for the 1981-1983 period, which included the steepest contraction in the American economy since the Great Depression....
In the latest survey, 56.9 percent of those who said they were re-employed also said they were earning less in their new jobs than in the jobs they had lost. That compared with 46.6 percent from 1991 through 1993, a similar period of recession followed by weak recovery, and 42.2 percent from 1997 through 1999, which were boom years....
the recession President Clinton left behind has turned into prosperity under George W. Bush.
Prosperity? My God, are these Republicans out of touch.
(Last link via Nathan Newman.)