Category Archives: Bill Clinton

“Friedman Friday” Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 2)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999

PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union

with guest Milton Friedman
Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences grades the achievements of the Clinton administration and evaluates the programs the President proposed in his 1999 State of the Union address.

Milton Friedman vs Bill Clinton (1999)

Published on May 28, 2012 by

ROBINSON Just the last eight years, or would you give high marks to Volcker as well, Greenspan’s predecessor?

FRIEDMAN That’s an interesting case, because you have to give the credit there really to Reagan. There’s no other President who would have stood by while the Fed followed the policy it did. If you remember— you don’t remember that period but if you go back…

ROBINSON I do actually, I had just started at the White House in those days…

FRIEDMAN …if you go back to that period, stopping the inflation that was raging which reached double-digit levels at the end of the ’70s and early ’80s required stepping on the brakes hard and produced a recession. And if you remember, Reagan’s popular ranking went way down in…

ROBINSON Down into the thirties.

FRIEDMAN …thirties, right. No other President would have stood by and said to the Fed, keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing. But Reagan did do that. And that’s what enabled Volcker to do what Volcker did.

ROBINSON Back to the present to find out what Milton Friedman thinks of President Clinton’s legislative goals for the rest of his term.

THE SUNSHINE PLOYS

ROBINSON Let me ask you to apply your thinking to the principle points of Bill Clinton’s program for the remaining couple of years in office. The President’s program is intended— we’ll take old folks first— to, I quote now, “Address the challenge of a senior boom by using the budget surplus to help save Social Security.”

FRIEDMAN Well, the proposal, if you look at it in detail, is a complete fake.

ROBINSON A complete fake?

FRIEDMAN Absolutely.

ROBINSON He wants to take sixty percent— a little more than sixty percent of budget surplus over the next fifteen years…

FRIEDMAN Where does that come from? He’s counting that twice. That comes from the proceeds of the payroll taxes that are now in, which, in principle, though not in practice, are supposed to be used for Social Security, but which have indeed been financing every regular event. If he doesn’t do a thing about the surplus, that would still end up in bonds in the hands of the Social Security so-called Trust Fund.

ROBINSON You say he’s guilty of a little bit of a flim-flam game with the books.

FRIEDMAN Absolutely.

ROBINSON Within forty-eight hours of that State of the Union Address in which he made this proposal, Alan Greenspan, whom you have just praised, endorsed the proposal— in general terms, not specific terms, but he endorsed the proposal— and the Republicans in Congress said yep, that’s a good idea, sign us up for that too. How is it that he’s able to get everybody to go for what you call a flim-flam game?

FRIEDMAN Look, do you need to ask that question now after six years of Clinton? How he’s been able to get one flim-flam game after another. How he’s been able to bamboozle the people into thinking that he deserves higher ratings because he lies. Clinton is a superb politician who has a most extraordinary capacity to exude sincerity. He’s an incredible phenomenon. I think he’s a genius. But go back to the Social Security program. The first thing to be said is that all this nonsense about saving something for Social Security is pure fiction. It’s wrong to think that what people are paying into Social Security, what people are paying in the form of wage taxes, is what they’re paying for their own security. [

ROBINSON That's nonsense.] There is no relationship whatsoever. We have a system under which you have a set of taxes for Social Security— named for Social Security, but it doesn’t matter, they’re payroll taxes, terrible taxes, regressive taxes. Nobody… you could not get a legislature to vote such a tax on its own. Can you imagine proposing a tax that would impose — let’s say sixteen percent tax— on all wages from the first dollar up to the maximum and nothing beyond that. Can you imagine voting that? Similarly, the other side of the picture is that we have made a series of commitments to people like me— I receive Social Security payments…

ROBINSON Oh so, it’s my payroll tax that goes to…

FRIEDMAN Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s not only your payroll tax, it’s your income tax, it’s whatever taxes you pay. I get them. And if you think you’re going to get ‘em, you’re kidding yourself.

ROBINSON It is a fundamental deceit hoisted upon the American people and sustained for lo these six decades.

FRIEDMAN Absolutely. If you read the Social Security brochures, they say this is a system under which you are putting aside money now for your retirement.

ROBINSON And that’s nonsense.

FRIEDMAN That is utterly fake. But let’s suppose it were true…

ROBINSON All-right.

FRIEDMAN …for a moment. Why is it that it’s appropriate for government to come and tell me what fraction of my income I should save for my old age? If that’s okay, why can’t it come in and tell me exactly what fraction of my income I have to spend for food, what fraction for housing, what fraction for clothing. Let me show you the absurdity of this.

ROBINSON All-right.

FRIEDMAN Consider a young man of thirty-five who has AIDS for whom the expected length of life is ten years at the most maybe. Maybe there’ll be a cure. But his expected length of life is not very long. Is it really intelligent for him to put aside fifteen percent of his income for retirement at age sixty-five?

ROBINSON It’s outrageous.

FRIEDMAN It’s outrageous.

ROBINSON Outrageous.

FRIEDMAN Exactly. The only word you can give to it. And in my opinion, the whole Social Security system is an outrage.

ROBINSON If Social Security is ‘an outrage,’ what would Milton Friedman do about it? A Bonding Experience

ROBINSON How would you get rid of it?

FRIEDMAN Very simply. Here I am, I’m entire to a certain number of payments in the future. Have the government give me a bond equal to the current present value of— expected value of what I’m entitled to. You have already accumulated some rights. And so have the government give you a bond which will be due when you’re sixty-five which will be the present value of what you’ve already accumulated under the law. And then close the whole thing up.

ROBINSON And just close the books.

FRIEDMAN Everybody gets what he’s entitled to— what he’s been promised. The unfunded debt under Social Security is funded, it’s made open and above-board. There’s not a penny of transition cost, and everybody is… In my world, the payroll tax would be abolished, would be eliminated. It’s the worst tax we have on the books. And everybody would be free to do what he wanted about his own retirement.

ROBINSON Okay.

FRIEDMAN And on the whole he would do very well. Now undoubtedly, people who argue against that say, well what are you going to do about these people who are so careless and so unprudent that they don’t accumulate anything for retirement. That’s a general problem. What do you do about people who are poor, whether for their own fault or not for their own fault? You and I and society in general is not willing to see ‘em starve to death.

ROBINSON Correct.

FRIEDMAN Well, I have always been in favor of having a program under which (a negative income tax) under which you will have some income minimum you will provide for people whether they are indigent because they’re wastrels or whether they’re indigent because they’re in bad health…

ROBINSON Even if it’s their own fault, they don’t starve.

FRIEDMAN The problem is, it’s always seemed to me absurd that you make a hundred percent of the people do something in order to make sure that one or two percent of the people don’t behave badly.

ROBINSON Milton, that negative income tax proposal actually started to go someplace, if I remember my history correctly, that actually started to go someplace during the Nixon years, didn’t it? Didn’t Cap Weinberger…

FRIEDMAN Yes, it did… No, Moynihan, Pat Moynihan…

ROBINSON Moynihan. And what happened to it? Why did it die?

FRIEDMAN Because the public pressure was converted into a program that I testified against. It’s what happens in Washington all the time.

ROBINSON Right, right, okay.

ROBINSON Next question. What would Milton Friedman do with the mounting budget surplus?

SAVING PRIVATE EARNING

ROBINSON We’ve got seventy-nine, eighty billion dollars more coming in this year than the government…

FRIEDMAN I am in favor of reducing taxes under any circumstances, for any excuse, with any reason whatsoever because that’s the only way you’re ever going to get effective control over government spending. Sooner or later [

ROBINSON Choke off the supply.] if you don’t reduce taxes to get rid of that surplus, it’s going to be spent. The rule from not only the last few years, hundreds of years, is that governments will spend whatever the tax system will raise plus as much more as they can get away with.

ROBINSON The Republicans are calling for a ten percent…

FRIEDMAN It’s not enough.

ROBINSON …cut. Not enough. What is… Now Dan Quayle, who’s running for President— this is the most extreme- extreme may be the wrong word but this is the most dramatic proposal I’m aware of that’s on the table anywhere at the moment— he’s called for a thirty percent cut. Is that enough?

FRIEDMAN I don’t know. I would cut it as much as you can get away with.

ROBINSON So you’d run the numbers and give back virtually all the surplus.

FRIEDMAN What do you mean give back? Not take.

ROBINSON Excuse me. It’s not take. You’d lower taxes…

FRIEDMAN You know, this idea of giving back, which is a word you use, assumes…

ROBINSON I take back my words, but go ahead and ram them down my throat.

FRIEDMAN …it assumes that every individual is a property of the government and that all of the income that you earn is really the government’s, and it decides how much you can keep and how much it gets. I’ve always said, it treats people as if they were running around with an IBM card on their back which says ‘do not mutilate, punch, or disturb.’

ROBINSON Right. You’ve got more money coming in at the moment than is going out.

FRIEDMAN You ought to reduce taxes by enough to generate…

ROBINSON You don’t want to pay down the debt.

FRIEDMAN Oh no. No, I want to generate a deficit because I want pressure on to get the government to spend less.

ROBINSON You like a federal deficit.

FRIEDMAN No, I don’t like a federal deficit, but I like lower government spending.

ROBINSON All-right. President Clinton has another proposal for using that surplus, and he calls them USA accounts. He’s proposing to use about eleven percent of the surplus over the next fifteen years or so to establish, I quote now from his speech, “universal savings accounts, USA accounts, to give all Americans the means to save,” again quotation here, “with extra help for the least able to save.” Details to follow. You like that idea?

FRIEDMAN No, I think it’s a terrible idea. You know, the idea is saying, I’m going to take your money, but then I’ll give it back to you if you do with it what I tell you to do. Is that a way you have a free society of free, self-reliant individuals who are responsible for themselves? It’s a terrible…

ROBINSON Do you even agree with the premise that the savings rate is too low in this country?

FRIEDMAN I don’t agree with that premise. What is the right savings rate?

ROBINSON Well, gee, you’re the Nobel Prize winner, I thought you’d be able to clue me in.

FRIEDMAN The right savings rate… In a world in which you did not have distortions, in which you did not have government stepping in and distorting the rate at which people save or not, the right saving rate is whatever all the people of the community simply want to save. How much you want to save, how much I want to save. Why shouldn’t people be free to save what they want?

ROBINSON Let’s move to a more theoretical question. Why do we end up with so many stupid government programs when we’re supposed to be so smart in our own private affairs?

THINK LOCALLY, ACT GLOBALLY

ROBINSON How is it, you credit great intelligence, shrewdness, on the part of individuals when they’re spending their own money and managing their own property in the marketplace, how can we all be so dumb when we give up being players in the marketplace and become citizens participating in the political process? We get hoodwinked by Clinton, we go for this crazy sham of Social Security, how can we be so dumb?

FRIEDMAN Because it’s always so attractive to be able to do good at somebody else’s expense. That the real problem of our government. Government is a way by which every individual believes he can live at the expense of everybody else. That’s— I’m just repeating what Bastiat said two centuries ago, more than two centuries ago. You know, the thing that people don’t really understand is that free societies of the kind we’ve been lucky enough to experience for the last hundred-hundred and fifty years are a very rare exception in human history. Most people, most of history, and at any one time, most people at any one time, have lived in tyranny and misery. And it’s only for a brief period, and why? It is precisely because once you get some government program in— may have been a very good idea, it’s always proposed for good reasons— once it gets in, it becomes a special privilege of a small group which has an enormously strong interest to maintain it, and you do not have any comparable group that has the interest to get rid of it. And therefore, the hardest thing in the world is to get rid of any government program, however badly it works. In fact, try to name any government programs that have been eliminated.

ROBINSON The draft. Well, that’s not a…

FRIEDMAN Yes, the draft is an example, it’s one of the rare examples of a program that has been eliminated. One of the others was Postal Savings. It used to be that the postal system had a savings system which became very popular as a result of the Great Depression. But it disappeared. Why? Because by accident when they set it up, they limited the interest they could pay on postal savings to two percent, and when the market rate got higher than that, all the money was taken out of postal savings and postal savings came to an end. But aside from that, can you name programs that have been eliminated because they failed? And so how will we set a limit on government, and keep it coming back, and the only thing I can see on the horizon that offers a real chance are term-limits.

ROBINSON Term limits?

FRIEDMAN Right now, being a politician is a lifetime career. Being a Congressman is a lifetime career.

ROBINSON Do we have any evidence in the states where term-limits apply that it has worked as you would like to see it work? Term-limits have been in effect here in California for about a decade now… They may have been enacted a decade ago, so they’ve been in effect for perhaps six years…

FRIEDMAN It’s a little early. We don’t really have any very good… However, it so happened, I had occasion to have a conversation the other day with a former Governor of Virginia: Allen, George Allen.

ROBINSON Who, everybody says he’s going to be running for the Senate. Against Chuck Robb.

FRIEDMAN Yes, that’s what he intends to do.

ROBINSON He intends to do. All-right.

FRIEDMAN However, he had, Virginia has a one-term four-year term for the Governor. And he said, you know, he said, if we had had a two-year term, if we had had the situation in most states, that you can run for a second term, I would have spent the third and fourth year of my term working for re-election. I would never have been able to get done what I got done. It was the first real hands-on testimonial I’ve seen to a term-limit. It’s not a good idea for being a legislator to be a lifetime profession. The founders of our country had the idea of legislation as a part-time activity. It is in many states today. But at the federal government level, it’s a full-time profession. And that is very unhealthy because the legislature— it’s not a criticism of the individual— but any human being in that position, he’s going to sit in committee meetings, and day after day he’s going to hear arguments, good arguments, worthy arguments for new programs. He’s going to get very few arguments for getting rid of programs. And the evidence is clear: the longer people are in Congress, the more willing they are to vote government spending.

ROBINSON The polls all show the American people are very concerned about our public schools. What does Milton Friedman think of President Clinton’s proposals to improve those public schools? Hire Learning

ROBINSON President Clinton on public schools. According to the White House fact sheet, he wants to, I quote, “raise standards and increase accountability in public schools (I’ve got to take a deep breath to get through this) through proposals to end social promotion, bring high-quality teachers into the classroom, intervene in failing schools, provide school report cards to parents, strengthen our commitment to smaller class-sizes, and boost our efforts for school modernization.” What grade do you give that proposal?

FRIEDMAN F.

ROBINSON F.

FRIEDMAN What does it mean? It means more government control of schools. What do we really need in schools? We need competition. What we have is a monopoly, and like every monopoly, it’s producing a low-quality product at a very high cost. The way to improve that is to have competition, to make it possible for parents to have a choice of the schools their children attend. All high-income people have that choice now. They can choose their residence for a place with good schools, or they can send their children to private schools, pay twice for schooling: once in taxes and once in tuition. But the lower income classes can’t.

ROBINSON They’re stuck. Milton, didn’t public schools used to work?

FRIEDMAN Yes. When I graduated from high-school in 1928, there were 150,000 school districts in this country. Today, there are 15,000 and the population is twice as great. In the early day, you had local control of schools, and there was effective competition between a large number of local areas. But school districts got consolidated. They got run not by local people but by the professional educators. And most important of all, in the 1960s you began to have the emergence of teachers’ unions taking control of the schools. And since 1960, since the teachers’ unions started emerging, you have had on the whole a rather steady decline in the quality of schooling. If you want to improve automobiles, do you have government step in and tell people what brakes to put on, and so on, or do you rely on the fact that General Motors is going to try to beat Ford, is going to try to beat Toyota? Competition is the most effective way to improve quality, whether in computers, in automobiles, in suits, or in schooling.

ROBINSON Let me ask you to close, if I may, with a prediction. It’s 2009, ten years from today. Is the government of the United States bigger, or smaller?

FRIEDMAN Smaller.

ROBINSON Your ideas are winning?

FRIEDMAN No. The Internet is going to make it harder and harder to collect taxes.

ROBINSON How come?

FRIEDMAN Because you’ll be able to evade taxes, you’ll be able to do your deals in the Cayman Islands.

ROBINSON So the Internet…

FRIEDMAN At the moment I see the Internet as the most likely source of the smaller government.

ROBINSON But in your mind it really will have an effect. That’s not speculative…

FRIEDMAN No, no, no. I believe it will and I believe it’s having it now.

ROBINSON I see. Okay. Milton Friedman— Bill Clinton I hope you’re taking notes, we’ll send a tape of this to the White House— Milton Friedman, thank you very much.

FRIEDMAN That’s all-right. I assure you they won’t look at it. Thank you.

ROBINSON Doctor Friedman believes the government should be smaller and that it will become so. Maybe some future President will preside over such a small government that he can shrink up the State of the Union Address enough to get rid of the Teleprompter and deliver the speech from memory. I’m Peter Robinson. Thanks for joining us.

Obama makes me long for the good ole days when the economy was expanding (includes editorial cartoon)

President Obama makes me long for the good ole days when the economy was expanding.

Triggered by an appearance on Canadian TV, I asked yesterday why we should believe anti-sequester Keynesians. They want us to think that a very modest reduction in the growth of government spending will hurt the economy, yet Canada enjoyed rapid growth in the mid-1990s during a period of substantial budget restraint.

I make a similar point in this debate with Robert Reich, noting that  the burden of government spending was reduced as a share of economic output during the relatively prosperous Reagan years and Clinton years.

Dan Mitchell Debating Robert Reich on Keynesian Sequester Hysteria

Being a magnanimous person, I even told Robert he should take credit for the Clinton years since he was in the cabinet as Labor Secretary. Amazingly, he didn’t take me up on my offer.

Anyhow, these two charts show the stark contrast between the fiscal policy of Reagan and Clinton compared to Bush..

Reagan-Clinton-Bush Domestic Spending

And there’s lots of additional information comparing the fiscal performance of various presidents here, here, and here.

For more information on Reagan and Clinton, this video has the details.

Which brings us back to the original issue.

The Keynesians fear that a modest reduction in the growth of government (under the sequester, the federal government will grow $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years rather than $2.5 trillion) will somehow hurt the economy.

But government spending grew much slower under Reagan and Clinton than it has during the Bush-Obama years, yet I don’t think anybody would claim the economy in recent years has been more robust than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

And if somebody does make that claim, just show them this remarkable chart (if they want to laugh, this Michael Ramirez cartoon makes the same point).

So perhaps the only logical conclusion to reach is that government is too big and that Keynesian economics is wrong.

I don’t think I’ll every convince Robert Reich, but hopefully the rest of the world can be persuaded by real-world evidence.

I shared a remarkable chart last year exposing Obama’s terrible record on job creation.

It showed that the economy enjoyed big employment increases during the Reagan and Clinton years, but it also revealed anemic data for the Obama years.

That’s not a surprise since Reagan was the most pro-freedom President since World War II and Clinton almost surely comes in second place.

Yes, Clinton did raise tax rates in his first year, but he put together a very strong record in subsequent years. He was particularly good about restraining the burden of government spending and overall economic freedom expanded during his reign.

He was no Reagan, to be sure, and the anti-government Congress that took power after the 1994 elections may deserve much of the credit for the good news during the Clinton years. Regardless, we had good economic performance during that period – unlike what we’ve seen during the Obama years.

Which makes this Michael Ramirez cartoon both amusing (in a tragic way) and economically accurate.

Obama v Reagan + Clinton

Since we’ve had relatively weak numbers for both jobs and growth this entire century, it would have been even better if the cartoon showed Bush and Obama both trying to raise the bar.

The real lesson is that big government is bad for jobs and growth, regardless of whether politicians have an “R” or “D” after their names.

P.S. Interestingly, now that the election is over, even the Washington Post is willing to publish charts confirming that Obama’s economic track record is miserable.

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 259)

Spending Restraint, Part I: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

Uploaded by on Feb 14, 2011

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both reduced the relative burden of government, largely because they were able to restrain the growth of domestic spending. The mini-documentary from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity uses data from the Historical Tables of the Budget to show how Reagan and Clinton succeeded and compares their record to the fiscal profligacy of the Bush-Obama years.

____________

 

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

Why is it that so many times when Washington runs out of money they instantly think they need to get more from the taxpayers. Did you know that the federal government ran on about 3% of GDP in taxes the first 150 years it existed (excluding wartimes). Maybe the real problem is controlling government spending since we are giving the federal government much more than 3% of our GDP in taxes and they are currently spending about 24% of our GDP in federal dollars every year and running us into debt.

On 9-18-12 I noted on the Arkansaas Times Blog:

The federal government has how much money? Negative 16 trillion I believe. How can they pay for all our medical needs in the future without turning everything around on us at the state level? I guess liberals are the only ones dumb enough to believe Obama’s empty promises. He took over when there was a federal debt of around 10 trillion and now it is over 16 trillion. I guess we could do even better if we gave him his Obamacare and re-elected him. The only alternative is to elect a Republican House and Senate and President and kill Obamacare. I sure that sounds heartless to the liberals. Everything is working so good right now why change course.

Couldn’t be better responded with a good point,  “Interesting, Saline, that Republicans ran up that $10 trillion in the national debt during good times when they should have been paying it down or totally writing it off.”

I totally agree that Republicans have also had a lot to do with running up the debt. They have got us into wars that we have not budgeted for and we continue to pay for Japan and Germany’s defenses when they are wealthy enough to do it on their own.

However, what is the answer to getting us out of this budget mess? Is raising taxes the answer? Let’s see what the Clinton Administration had to say about that. Below is the last portion of an article by Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute:

Debunking Myth after Myth in Financial Times Column by Former Clinton White House Economist
September 18, 2012 by Dan Mitchell

Even though I have remarked on many occasions that the burden of government was reduced during the Clinton years, that doesn’t mean Bill Clinton was in favor of smaller government. And it definitely doesn’t mean that his appointees believed in economic liberty.

Consider the case of Laura Tyson, who served as Chair of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. She recently penned a column for the UK-based Financial Times that is riddled with disingenuous assertions.

Even though it deserves to be ignored, I can’t resist the temptation to make corrections.

Tyson myth:

The US economy needs efficient and progressive tax reform and it needs more revenues for deficit reduction. Revenue increases have been a significant component of all major deficit-reduction packages enacted over the past 30 years.

Factual correction:

This is remarkable. I assume Ms. Tyson reads the New York Times, so perhaps she overlooked or deliberate forgot the column that inadvertently revealed that the only successful deficit-reduction package in recent memory was the one that cut taxes instead of raising them.

Interestingly, that successful package was implemented during the Clinton years, but only after she left office.

During Tyson’s tenure at CEA, we did get a tax increase rather than a tax cut. But the Clinton Administration admitted 18 months later that the tax hike was a failure and was not going to balance the budget.

Yet she wants to push the same failed class-warfare tax policy today.

_________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

_______

Spending Restraint, Part II: Lessons from Canada, Ireland, Slovakia, and New Zealand

Uploaded by on Feb 22, 2011

Nations can make remarkable fiscal progress if policy makers simply limit the growth of government spending. This video, which is Part II of a series, uses examples from recent history in Canada, Ireland, Slovakia, and New Zealand to demonstrate how it is possible to achieve rapid improvements in fiscal policy by restraining the burden of government spending. Part I of the series examined how Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were successful in controlling government outlays — particularly the burden of domestic spending programs. http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

“Friedman Friday” Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 1)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999

PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union

with guest Milton Friedman
Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences grades the achievements of the Clinton administration and evaluates the programs the President proposed in his 1999 State of the Union address.

Milton Friedman vs Bill Clinton (1999)

Published on May 28, 2012 by

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ROBINSON Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge, I’m Peter Robinson. Our show today: The State of the Union, or more precisely, The State of the Union According to the Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Milton Friedman. Every year the President of the United States travels from the White House to the House of Representatives to deliver a major televised address, the State of the Union Address. The President outlines for the American people the accomplishments of his administration to date, the challenges the nation still faces, and his programs for meeting those challenges. Now, by the time the President delivers his address, it will have been worked on for many days by the President himself and by a large team of speech-writers. There will have been draft after draft after draft, mark-ups, cross-outs, corrections of all kinds. Yet, when we finally see the address, when we watch the President seem to speak all but flawlessly for thirty, forty minutes or more, delivering a speech that must be many pages in length, we never see him refer to a single sheet of paper. The trick: a machine called a Teleprompter that projects the text of the speech onto a plate of glass in such a way that the President, and he alone, can see it. A trick with mirrors. An illusion. Milton Friedman, perhaps the most influential economist of the last half century, believes that when Bill Clinton gave his own most recent State of the Union Address, the Teleprompter wasn’t the only illusion the speech involved.

ROBINSON Milton Friedman, we are in the sixth year of the Clinton Administration, the nation is at peace, the economy is booming, the federal government has gone from a budget deficit of 290 billion dollars in 1992, the year Bill Clinton was elected, to a surplus of at least 76 billion dollars for this year. Don’t you want to give Bill Clinton an A?

FRIEDMAN (laughs) No, I want to give the economy an A.

ROBINSON Give the economy an A. How much credit does he deserve?

FRIEDMAN Well, there’s only one way in which I believe he deserves some credit. Because you have a Democrat in the White House and Republicans control the Congress, it’s hard to get any laws passed, and that’s been a great advantage. The source of our prosperity in my opinion dates back to Mr. Reagan’s reductions in tax rates…

ROBINSON 1982.

FRIEDMAN …1982, and deregulation during the Reagan Administration, also go down to the 1986 Tax Act which eliminated a lot of interventions, unfortunately which have been creeping back in. And that unleashed a private enterprise boom which we’re still benefitting from.

ROBINSON We’re not in the sixth year of the Clinton expansion, we’re in the seventeenth year of the Reagan boom.

FRIEDMAN Exactly. The Reagan— I won’t call it a boom, because it really hasn’t been a boom, it’s been a very good, healthy expansion.

ROBINSON Steady, sustainable…

FRIEDMAN It’s a boom in the stock market, but so far as the economy is concerned the average rate of growth is not out of line with what it’s been in the past many times.

ROBINSON It’s in line with historical standards.

FRIEDMAN The long-term rate of growth since the Civil War, for example, is in the order of about three to four percent a year, of which one percent is population growth, one-and-a-half to two percent per capita growth, and we’re in about that same range. But it’s been a notable period for other things. It’s been a notable period because we’ve had this expansion at the same time that inflation has been brought down and relatively stable, and for that the credit belongs to the Federal Reserve under the leadership of Alan Greenspan. I think Alan Greenspan deserves more credit for that than anything else.

ROBINSON More credit than he’s being given, or more credit than Bill Clinton’s being given.

FRIEDMAN No, no— oh, Bill Clinton deserves no credit for that. That’s entirely a result of the Fed and its behavior. The Fed has done a lot of bad things in the past, so I’m delighted to be able to give it credit for one good thing, and it’s done very well under Alan Greenspan.

ROBINSON Does the so-to-speak extra-constitutionality of the Fed disturb you?

FRIEDMAN Yes. I have always been in favor of abolishing the Fed, primarily from a political point of view.

ROBINSON And how would you handle the currency, how would you then manage the currency without the Fed?

FRIEDMAN My favorite proposal is to have a fixed amount of what’s called high-powered money and just keep it there.

ROBINSON Just keep the money supply static?

FRIEDMAN Not the money supply. High-powered money…

ROBINSON Which is…

FRIEDMAN …the currency plus the reserves in the banking system that are now deposits in the Fed, under my system you would convert to currency.

ROBINSON So you would eliminate the policy functions of the Fed, but you might keep a few of their statisticians around to keep tabs on the money supply… but that’s a relatively technical and modest…

FRIEDMAN Well, no, you don’t even have to do that. You just have to keep somebody around to make sure that you replace the worn-out notes and keep the stock quantity of money, in the narrow sense of currency, essentially unchanged, or if you want, growing at three percent a year. But some purely mechanical regime. Given that you do have a Fed, it makes a great deal of difference how it performs. I believe that the inflation that we had in the ’70s was primarily the responsibility of the Fed. I believe that the Great Depression of the ’30s was primarily the responsibility of the Fed. So I’m not… it has in the past done a great deal of harm, but as it happens in this last eight years or so it’s been very good and has brought about…

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 225)

Spending Restraint, Part I: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

Uploaded by on Feb 14, 2011

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both reduced the relative burden of government, largely because they were able to restrain the growth of domestic spending. The mini-documentary from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity uses data from the Historical Tables of the Budget to show how Reagan and Clinton succeeded and compares their record to the fiscal profligacy of the Bush-Obama years.

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President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

Why do people want us to believe that you want to get us back to the way it was under President Clinton when in fact Clinton spent 19.8% of GDP while your average is 24.4%

Obama Is No Clinton

by Michael D. Tanner

Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.

Added to cato.org on August 8, 2012

This article appeared on National Review (Online) on August 8, 2012.

Lately President Obama has done everything except seduce an intern in his attempt to morph into Bill Clinton. In virtually every speech, he invokes Clinton’s name, trying to link his policies with those of the popular former president. He has even called upon Clinton to place Obama’s name in nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

But, try as he might, Barack Obama, is no Bill Clinton.

President Obama says that he wants to raise taxes back to the level they were under Clinton, but that’s not quite true. Under President Obama’s proposal, the top tax bracket would be raised to 39.6 percent. The president has also called for phasing out high-income taxpayers’ itemized deductions, adding another 1.2 percentage points to the effective tax rate, bringing it to 40.8 percent. Add in the 2.9 percent Medicare tax and the top marginal rate would be 43.7 percent, roughly equal to what it was during the Clinton years. But Obamacare would increase the Medicare tax for high-wage earners to 3.8 percent, pushing the top marginal tax rate under the Obama plan to 44.6 percent, nearly a full point higher than it was under Clinton.

The same is true for capital-gains taxes, interest, and other investment income. President Obama, who once famously said he favored higher capital-gains taxes even if they resulted in decreased revenue, would raise taxes on investment income from the current 15 percent to the 2002 level of 21.2 percent. But that number ignores the 3.8 percent Unearned Income Medicare Contribution (UIMC) tax on interest and capital gains that was imposed by Obamacare. Thus, President Obama would really raise taxes on investment income to 25 percent, much higher than they were under PresidentClinton.

Our current president wants to tax and spend even more than Clinton did.

Or look at it another way: During the eight years of the Clinton presidency, federal tax revenue averaged 19 percent of GDP. If President Obama gets all the tax hikes he wants, taxes would rise to at least 19.8 percent of GDP, and possibly higher.

We should also note that the economic climate was very different during the Clinton administration. Driven in part by the dot-com bubble, the economy was booming. One might argue that it would have been even better had Clinton not raised taxes, but the economy was still able to handle it. In contrast, our current economy is a mess, balancing on the edge of a double-dip recession, with unemployment stuck above 8 percent. That is why, in a moment of candor, even Clinton has argued against raising taxes now.

Perhaps an argument could be made for Clinton-era tax levels, though, if one also had Clinton-era spending levels. Under President Clinton, federal spending averaged 19.8 percent of GDP and actually hit a low of just 18.3 percent. In contrast, spending under President Obama over the past four years has averaged 24.4 percent of GDP. And going forward, the president’s proposed budgets would never spend less than 22 percent of GDP.

As a result, at least some of the revenue from Clinton’s tax hikes actually was used to reduce the national debt. President Obama’s tax increases, on the other hand, would simply fund more federal spending.

It may well be true that President Clinton would never have shown such budget discipline in the absence of a Republican Congress, but the fact is that there was far more spending restraint during the Clinton years than under either of his successors. Indeed, if the post-Clinton budget had simply grown at the rate of inflation plus population, federal spending this year would be roughly $1 trillion less than it is today. Of course, some of the blame for the current level of spending belongs to President Bush, but President Obama has doubled down on Bush’s profligacy, including by converting one-time Bush spending, such as TARP, into permanent spending.

In the end, President Obama would increase taxes more than Bill Clinton did, and cut spending a lot less.

President Clinton was also willing to consider reform of entitlement programs. Indeed, before the Lewinsky scandal forced Clinton to shore up his left flank to protect himself from impeachment, he was even receptive to the idea of allowing younger workers to privately invest a portion of their payroll taxes through personal accounts. Can anyone imagine President Obama, even for a moment, considering a similarly radical overhaul of Social Security or Medicare?

Of course, the signature accomplishment of the Clinton administration was welfare reform. This too may have been pushed on him by a Republican Congress, but President Clinton not only signed it, he embraced it. President Obama has not only increased total welfare spending by $193 billion since taking office, he has actively worked to dismantle the 1996 welfare reform act. His first stimulus bill included funding to help states pay for additional welfare recipients and eliminated many of the incentives that had encouraged states to reduce their welfare rolls. More recently, the Obama administration has announced plans to waive many of welfare reform’s work requirements.

In fact, even rhetorically Obama and Clinton head in different directions. In the wake of the Republican victory in 1994, Clinton declared, “The era of big government is over.” President Obama argues that “the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little.”

Given the last twelve years, a little Clinton nostalgia is understandable. But Bill Clinton will not be on the ballot this fall. Barack Obama will be, and that is a big difference.

__________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Reagan and Clinton put Obama to shame when it comes to creating jobs

Reagan and Clinton put Obama to shame when it comes to creating jobs.

I shared a remarkable chart last year exposing Obama’s terrible record on job creation.

It showed that the economy enjoyed big employment increases during the Reagan and Clinton years, but it also revealed anemic data for the Obama years.

That’s not a surprise since Reagan was the most pro-freedom President since World War II and Clinton almost surely comes in second place.

Yes, Clinton did raise tax rates in his first year, but he put together a very strong record in subsequent years. He was particularly good about restraining the burden of government spending and overall economic freedom expanded during his reign.

He was no Reagan, to be sure, and the anti-government Congress that took power after the 1994 elections may deserve much of the credit for the good news during the Clinton years. Regardless, we had good economic performance during that period – unlike what we’ve seen during the Obama years.

Which makes this Michael Ramirez cartoon both amusing (in a tragic way) and economically accurate.

Obama v Reagan + Clinton

Since we’ve had relatively weak numbers for both jobs and growth this entire century, it would have been even better if the cartoon showed Bush and Obama both trying to raise the bar.

The real lesson is that big government is bad for jobs and growth, regardless of whether politicians have an “R” or “D” after their names.

P.S. Interestingly, now that the election is over, even the Washington Post is willing to publish charts confirming that Obama’s economic track record is miserable.

Open letter to President Obama (Part 216)

Thomas Sowell

(This letter was mailed before September 1, 2012)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

If the welfare reform law was successful then why change it? Wasn’t Bill Clinton the president that signed into law?

Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley

July 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Today, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the reform law. The Obama directive bludgeons the letter and intent of the actual reform legislation.

Welfare Reform under Clinton

Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The underlying concept of welfare reform was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.

The welfare reform law is often characterized as simply giving state governments more flexibility in operating welfare programs. This is a serious misunderstanding. While new law (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) did grants states more flexibility in some respects, the core of the act was the creation of rigorous new federal work standards that state governments were required to implement.

The welfare reform law was very successful. In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among affected groups plummeted. The driving force behind these improvements was the rigorous new federal work requirements contained in the TANF law.

Obama’s Trick to Get Around Work Requirements

Today the Obama Administration issued a new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Section 1115 states that “the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements” of specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: Any provision of law that can be waived under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself. The work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 (entitled, appropriately, “mandatory work requirements”). Critically, this section, as well as most other TANF requirements, are deliberately not listed in section 1115; they are not waiveable.

In establishing TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from the section 1115 waiver authority. They did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of Health and Human Services (HHS) bureaucrats. Of the roughly 35 sections of the TANF law, only one is listed as waiveable under section 1115. This is section 402.

Section 402 describes state plans—reports that state governments must file to HHS describing the actions they will undertake to comply with the many requirements established in the other sections of the TANF law. The authority to waive section 402 provides the option to waive state reporting requirements only, not to overturn the core requirements of the TANF program contained in the other sections of the TANF law.

The new Obama dictate asserts that because the work requirements, established in section 407, are mentioned as an item that state governments must report about in section 402, all the work requirements can be waived. This removes the core of the TANF program; TANF becomes a blank slate that HHS bureaucrats and liberal state bureaucrats can rewrite at will.

Congressional Research Service: “There Are No TANF Waivers”

In a December 2001 document, “Welfare Reform Waivers and TANF,” the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified that the limited authority to waive state reporting requirement in section 402 does not grant authority to override work and other major requirements in the other sections of the TANF law (sections that were deliberately not listed under the section 1115 waiver authority):

Technically, there is waiver authority for TANF state plan requirement; however, [the] major TANF requirements are not in state plans. Effectively, there are no TANF waivers.

Obviously, if the Congress had wanted HHS to be able to waive the TANF work requirements laid out in section 407, it would have listed that section as waiveable under section 1115. It did not do that.

Define “Work”…

In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as “work.” These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect “work” in the TANF program to mean anything but work.

The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law. The Administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices—a pattern that has become all too common in this Administration.

The result is the end of welfare reform.

_______________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Open letter to President Obama (Part 168.6)

Dan Mitchell Explaining Why “Taxing the Rich” Is a Precursor for Going after the Middle Class

Published on Apr 13, 2012 by

_________________

 

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

Raising taxes is not the answer but we must lower spending in order to balance the budget. That is the lesson from history too.

This should be a lesson for Obama and any Republican out there that wants  to raise taxes:

Tax Hikes Are Economically Destructive, Politically Poisonous, and Completely Ineffective at Reducing Red Ink

July 3, 2012 by Dan Mitchell

Back in April, I explained that I would accept a tax increase if “the net long-run effect is more freedom, liberty, and prosperity.”

I even outlined several specific scenarios where that might occur, including giving the politicians more money in exchange for a flat tax or giving them additional revenue in exchange for real entitlement reform.

But I then pointed out that all of those options are unrealistic. And I’ve expanded on that thesis in a new article. Here’s some of what I wrote for The Blaze.

The no-tax pledge of Americans for Tax Reform generates a lot of controversy. With record levels of red ink, the political elite incessantly proclaims that all options must be “on the table.” This sounds reasonable. And when some Republicans say no tax hikes under any circumstances, there’s a lot of criticism about dogmatism. Theoretically, I agree with the elitists.

So does that make me a squish, the fiscal equivalent of Chief Justice John Roberts?

Nope, because I’m tethered to the real world. I know that there is zero chance of getting a good agreement. Once you put taxes “on the table,” any impetus for spending restraint evaporates.

But even though I’m theoretically open to a tax hike, I am a de facto opponent of tax increases for the simple reason that we will never get a good deal. We won’t get sustainable spending cuts. Not even in our dreams. We won’t get real entitlement reforms. Even if we hold our breath ‘til we turn blue. And we won’t get the “Simpson-Bowles” tax reform swap, where taxpayers give up $2 of deductions in exchange for $1 of lower tax rates. Let’s not kid ourselves. In other words, reality trumps theory. Yes, there are tax-hike deals that would be good, but they’re about as realistic as me speculating on whether I’d be willing to play for the New York Yankees, but only if they guarantee me $5 million per year.

I then point out that a budget deal inevitably would lead to bad policy – just as we saw in 1982 and 1990.

Here’s the bottom line: There is no practical way to get a good deal from either the Democrats in the Senate or the Obama Administration. Notwithstanding the good intentions of some people, any grand bargain would be a failure that leads to higher spending and more red ink, just as we saw after the 1982 and 1990 budget deals. The tax increases would not be relatively benign loophole closers. Instead, the economy would be hit by higher marginal tax rates on work, savings, investment, and entrepreneurship. And the entitlement reform would be unsustainable gimmicks rather than structural changes to fix the underlying programs. Ironically, when a columnist for the New York Times complained that Republicans were being unreasonable for opposing tax hikes, she inadvertently revealed that the only successful budget deal was the one in 1997 – the one that had no tax hikes!

The last sentence is worth some additional commentary. As I explained in a previous post, the only bipartisan budget agreement that generated a balanced budget was the 1997 pact – and that deal lowered taxes rather than increasing them.

Some people try to argue that Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike deserves some of the credit, but I previously showed that the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget admitted – 18 months later! – that the nation would have triple-digit budget deficits for the foreseeable future.

What changed (and this is where Bill Clinton deserves credit) is that the nation enjoyed a multi-year period of spending restraint in the mid-1990s.

And when policy makers addressed the underlying disease of too much government spending, they solved the symptom of red ink.

____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

The stimulus program did not help, but getting government out of the way would!!!!

Government Must Cut Spending

Uploaded by on Dec 2, 2010

The government can cut roughly $343 billion from the federal budget and they can do so immediately.

__________

The stimulus program did not help, but getting government out of the way would!!!! Take a look at this great article that goes over several examples through history.

The great Ronald Reagan famously said (and I am paraphrasing, since I do not remember the exact phrase) that the most dangerous words in the English language were “I am from Washington and I am here to help you.”

Those are very wise words, especially when we think of the damage politicians have done because of their impulse to “do something” when the economy stumbles. The problem is not that there is nothing that needs to be fixed. The problem is that the crowd in Washington is far more likely to make things worse rather than better.

And who better to explain this than Thomas Sowell.

Sowell starts his most recent column by explaining that politicians who want to “do something” almost always want to expand the burden of government spending, but he notes that this approach has meant deeper recessions and more economic suffering. And he cites Warren Harding as an example of a President who rejected the notion that bigger government was some sort of economic elixir.

…you might think that the economy requires government intervention to revive and create jobs. It is Beltway dogma that the government has to “do something.” History tells a different story. For the first 150 years of this country’s existence, the federal government felt no great need to “do something” when the economy turned down. Over that long span of time, the economic downturns were neither as deep nor as long lasting as they have been since the federal government decided that it had to “do something” in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, which set a new precedent. One of the last of the “do nothing” presidents was Warren G. Harding. In 1921, under President Harding, unemployment hit 11.7 percent — higher than it has been under President Obama. Harding did nothing to get the economy stimulated. Far from spending more money to try to “jump start” the economy, President Harding actually reduced government spending.

Can we learn any lessons from Harding’s anti-Keynesian approach? Assuming we want more growth and less unemployment, the answer is yes (and we can also learn the lesson that Hoover was a moronic statist from the very beginning).

President Harding deliberately rejected the urging of his own Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, to intervene. The 11.7 percent unemployment rate in 1921 fell to 6.7 percent in 1922, and then to 2.4 percent in 1923. It is hard to think of any government intervention in the economy that produced such a sharp and swift reduction in unemployment as was produced by just staying out of the way and letting the economy rebound on its own. Bill Clinton loudly proclaimed to the delegates to the Democratic National Convention that no president could have gotten us out of the recession in just one term. But history shows that the economy rebounded out of a worse unemployment situation in just two years under Harding, who simply let the market revive on its own, as it had done before, time and time again for more than a century.

Allow me to actually quibble with what Sowell wrote. Harding didn’t “let the market revive on its own.” He helped the economy grow faster by shrinking the federal budget. As Jim Powell explained in National Review, “Federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and $3.2 billion in 1922.”

That’s a stunning statistic, akin to cutting more than $1.5 trillion from today’s bloated federal budget.

Sowell  also cites the achievements of the Gipper. Since I’ve posted some powerful comparisons of Reaganomics and Obamanomics, this is music to my ears.

Something similar happened under Ronald Reagan. Unemployment peaked at 9.7 percent early in the Reagan administration. Like Harding and earlier presidents, Reagan did nothing, despite outraged outcries in the media. The economy once again revived on its own. Three years later, unemployment was down to 7.2 percent — and it kept on falling, as the country experienced twenty years of economic growth with low inflation and low unemployment. The Obama party line is that all the bad things are due to what he inherited from Bush, and the few signs of recovery are due to Obama’s policies beginning to pay off. But, if the economy has been rebounding on its own for more than 150 years, the question is why it has been so slow to recover under the Obama administration.

By the way, Sowell also could have mentioned what happened in the United States immediately after World War II. The Keynesians were predicting a return to depression because of big reductions in government spending and the demobilization of millions of troops. But as Richard Vedder and Jason Taylor explained for the Cato Institute, the economy quickly adjusted and rebounded precisely because politicians didn’t revive the New Deal (and, as you can see from this video, President Reagan understood this bit of economic history).

Sowell also explains how FDR made a bad situation worse in the 1930s.

A great myth has grown up that President Franklin D. Roosevelt saved the American economy with his interventions during the Great Depression of the 1930s. But a 2004 economic study concluded that government interventions had prolonged the Great Depression by several years. Obama is repeating policies that failed under FDR.

In previous posts, I have cited both Sowell and the Wall Street Journal to make this very point, but I also call your attention to this post referencing the seminal work of Robert Higgs, as well as this video on the pernicious role of government intervention in the 1930s.

Last but not least, check out this video to understand more about FDR and his malignant views.

P.S. Fans of Professor Sowell can read more of his work here, here, here, here, here, hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, and here. And you can see him in action here.

President Obama is not similar to Clinton when it comes to government spending

Deficits are Bad, but the Real Problem is Spending

Bill Clinton nominating Obama 9-5-12 in Charlotte

Steve Hanke points out, “When President Clinton took office in 1993, government expenditures were 22.1% of GDP, and when he departed in 2000, the federal government’s share of the economy had been squeezed to a low of 18.2%.”

That is not what has happened the last four years!!!! We have got to cut federal government spending  back to the level it was under Clinton in 2000.

Clinton and Obama, Polar Opposites

Posted by Steve H. Hanke

Last night, Bill Clinton introduced President Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee. He went to great lengths to stress their similarities, but failed to mention their divergent views on the appropriate size of government.

When President Clinton took office in 1993, government expenditures were 22.1% of GDP, and when he departed in 2000, the federal government’s share of the economy had been squeezed to a low of 18.2%. As the accompanying table shows, during the Clinton years, federal government expenditures as a percent of GDP fell by 3.9 percentage points. No other modern president has come close.

And, that’s not all. During the final three years of the former President’s second term, the federal government was generating fiscal surpluses. Clinton was even confident enough to boldly claim, in his January 1996 State of the Union address, that “the era of big government is over.”

When it comes to the appropriate size of government, Clinton and Obama are polar opposites.

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