Monday, June 28, 2004

Are you better off today than you were four years ago? 

Unless you are very, very wealthy, the answer is going to be No. That's because Clinton, unlike Bush, focussed on bringing economic benefits to all Americans. Ron Brownstein of the LA Times runs the numbers:

[T]he Clinton years produced extraordinary gains in the communities that needed help most.

The benefits of the Clinton boom were dispersed far more broadly than the gains under Ronald Reagan, in part because Clinton systematically implemented policies that encouraged and rewarded work for those on the economy's bottom rungs.

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.

Welfare reform pushed more low-income families into the job market, where they could benefit from the rising tide. Then Clinton made work more rewarding with increases in the minimum wage and the earned-income tax credit, the creation of the Children's Health Insurance Program (to cover the children of working-poor families), and expanded funding for day care. He eliminated the deficit while cutting taxes for average families.

And while delivering all these benefits for traditionally Democratic constituencies, Clinton extended the party's appeal up the income ladder.
(via LA Times)

Ever wonder why the wingers hate (yes, hate, not "hate") Clinton so much? And why the want you to hate him as well? Because it's the old Republican shell game, that's why. They want to tear down the good that he did. They don't want you to think of your own interests, that's why.

Again, are you better off today than you were four years ago?

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