Center for American Progress

Clinton/Bush Economic Records Show Flaws in Supply-Siders’ Theories
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Clinton/Bush Economic Records Show Flaws in Supply-Siders’ Theories

The economic records of the Clinton and Bush presidencies are so clear and so stark that they serve as painful reminders to supply siders everywhere that their ideas have been tested and that they have failed in spectacular fashion.

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Under President Bill Clinton, the U.S. economy grew for 32 straight quarters. During that time, overall annual real economic growth averaged 3.8 percent, and each month, an average of nearly 240,000 net new jobs were created. Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. economy grew for only 25 straight quarters. And during that expansion, economic growth averaged just 2.6 percent, and only 86,000 jobs were created per month.

These are difficult facts for the right wing to explain. After all, President Clinton did the one thing that right-wing, supply siders say you absolutely cannot do if you want to have good economic outcomes—he raised taxes. And for his part, President Bush did the one thing that those same people promise will result in enormous economic gains—he cut taxes.

The economic records of the Clinton and Bush presidencies are so clear and so stark that they serve as painful reminders to supply siders everywhere that their ideas have been tested and that they have failed in spectacular fashion.

So it is no surprise that these same supply siders who promised doom and destruction if President Clinton’s rate hikes were passed and who similarly promised dramatic growth and millions of new jobs if President Bush’s tax cuts were passed are now tying themselves in knots trying to prove that they were right all along. Given how well the economy performed under Clinton and how poorly it performed under Bush, this is no easy task.

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