Eight years of prosperity weren’t so bad | TheUnion.com

Eight years of prosperity weren’t so bad

No one ever called Bill Clinton a moron.

Remember the good old days when the stock market was soaring and unemployment and crime rates were plummeting and the right wing of the country was vilifying and demonizing Bill Clinton and calling him names? One thing they never called him was a moron. Ah . . . those were the days.

This last election was a real debacle for the Democrats. Not so much for what happened, but for what should have happened. What actually happened was all the close ones went to the Republicans and they won a few seats in the House and a couple in the Senate, and thereby strengthened their slim hold on the former and gained control in the latter. A slam-dunk victory by the Democrats is what should have happened

Just recall a little history. Which party gave the common people of this great country Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage laws? Which party fought for civil rights legislation, strove for universal health care, and at the same time provided the country with an excellent economy and turned a deficit into a surplus. Yes, it was the party of the people, the Democratic Party.

And which party gave that surplus to the already rich, changing the surplus to a deficit, which party rolled back environmental regulations, ignoring signs of global warming and which party created a new huge governmental bureau that won’t be functional for years, if ever. Yes, it was the party of the rich people, the Republican Party.

Why weren’t the Democratic leaders screaming this from the rooftops? I don’t know. What was wrong with eight years of peace and prosperity? Bill Clinton was no saint, but he was a hell of a president. And that was no fluke.

The myth that the Republicans are good for business is really one big lie. Slate magazine ran numbers for the annual total return on the S&P 500 since 1900 and found under Democratic administrations it was 12.3 percent, compared to 8 percent under Republicans. In 2000, the Stock Trader’s Almanac arrived at almost the same numbers (13.4 percent to 8.1 percent). In short, the Democrats have records for over 100 years showing superior economic performance. These facts must be loudly announced by Democrats everywhere. Incidentally, comparison of the GDP growths since 1930 (the earliest year of decent data) by Slate shows 5.4 percent for the Democrats to 1.6 percent for the Republicans.

One reason for the economic success of the Democrats lies in the basic philosophies of the parties. Concentrating the wealth in the hands of a few has never worked and never will. From long ago and far away, I remember taking an economics course where, in addition to the law of supply and demand, we were taught that if you wanted to give a real boost to the economy you put money into the hands of the populace, not the elite.

Just the other day, President Bush reduced a pending pay increase for federal employees (saving maybe $1 billion), stating “full statutory increases in 2003 would interfere with our nation’s ability to pursue the war on terrorism.” Yet he continues to defend his 10-year tax cut for the rich costing the Treasury over $1 trillion, and wants to make it permanent.

Another reason for the success of the Democrats might be the relative intelligence of the presidents nominated by the parties. I have no figures to prove that case, but I would like to point out once more: no one ever called Bill Clinton a moron.

Jack Flannigan lives in Grass Valley.

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