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Jerry Shenk


Bill Clinton: Undeterred by Evidence

by Jerry Shenk
 

By all accounts, Bill Clinton, Rhodes Scholar, twice governor and two-term
president, is a smart man.

Intelligent, perhaps, but he's too clever by half. During a recent Bloomberg
interview in which he "answered" questions about the
Clinton Foundation's large, suspiciously-timed "donations" from foreign
governments, Clinton demanded, "Has anybody proved that we did anything
objectionable?"

Invoking the unavailability of smoking-gun evidence is a defiant,
"depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is" sort of way to declare innocence -
especially since connecting the dots, following the money and tracking
timelines reveal strong indications of potential ethical misconduct
by Clinton and his wife during her tenure as Secretary of State.

More recently, Clinton told a CNN host how impressed he is by many of the
Republicans who have announced or are considering a 2016 presidential run.
However, Clinton qualified, "They still believe trickle-down economics works
better than investment, and their convictions are so great that they're
undeterred by evidence." [Note: In this context, "investment" is hack-speak
for "government spending"]

But Clinton offered no evidence.

Ironically, Bill Clinton is undeterred by the evidence which explains his
second-term's economy: Prosperity fueled largely by a trickle-down tax cut
on capital gains and dividends.

In 1993, Clinton and a Democrat-controlled Congress passed one of the
largest income tax increases in history. The left still praises Clinton for
increasing taxes, but reports from the Congressional Budget Office
, the Office of
Management and Budget, and the IRS agree that, despite the rate hike's
magnitude, Treasury receipts missed enactors' optimistic forecasts.

Among progressive Democrats, such evidence is known only as "bad luck."

The tax results of Clinton's first term can be simply summarized: Rate hikes
salvaged by the good luck of an electronic/communications revolution and a
normal growth cycle as America emerged from recession. Without good fortune,
Clinton's tax rate increases would likely have caused revenue declines in a
lagging economy.

In fact, the balanced budgets and surpluses of the Clinton years occurred
only after a Republican Congress passed and Clinton reluctantly signed a
1997 tax bill which lowered the capital gains rate from 28% to 20%, added a child tax credit and established higher limits on tax exclusion for IRA contributions and estates.

The rate reduction on capital gains unleashed the economy: Capital
investment tripled by 1998 and doubled again in 1999. Treasury receipts for
capital gains/dividend tax obligations soared immediately. Jobless rates
dropped .

Trickle, trickle.

In short, tax relief drove "Clinton's" prosperity.

Tax cuts worked for Democratic icon President John Kennedy, too. Kennedy
oversaw a significant reduction of confiscatory income tax rates on high
earners and taxpayers inclusively. Records tracking Kennedy's
rate reductions reveal that Treasury revenues increased as freed assets
entered the economy.

Politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton who are "undeterred by the
evidence" of their own economic history clearly believe Americans,
generally, to be stupid, inattentive or gullible.

Another Clinton presidency would confirm their beliefs and reward the
contempt Clinton and his wife have consistently shown for American voters.


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