In the Twilight Zone, it’s not the economy, stupid!
Beyond the realm of inconvenient truths, there’s a dimension to which Bill Clinton occasionally retreats. It’s a dimension of fertile imaginations, sound bites and mind games whose boundaries the gullible determine. In this wondrous land, tokes aren’t inhaled, sex with interns isn’t sex, and the meaning of “is” isn’t always is. When Clinton wags his finger to punctuate a claim, like “no president — not me or any of my predecessors — could have repaired all the damage in just four years,” it’s his poker “tell.” Next stop: the Twilight Zone.
Ironically, the president who rode to victory in 1992 on the theme “It’s the economy, stupid” now suggests it’s stupid to examine the 39-month-old economic recovery, which, we were promised, would yield 4 percent gross-domestic-product growth and 5.6 percent unemployment — not the current 1.6 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. Before crossing over to the land of suspended disbelief, Think Again.
In fact, until now, all presidents over the past 75 years have performed better. As Milton Friedman observed, and a November 2011 Federal Reserve study verified, the worse the recession — even when caused by a financial crisis — the stronger the recovery, absent bad government policies like those that prolonged and deepened the Great Depression.
photo: Associated Press