Democratic Convention 2012

Bill Clinton's Truthiness: "Democrats Created More Jobs"


If only it were so easy to see whenever someone is lying

Don't have the actual quotation, but former President Bill Clinton in his Democratic Convention speech did make a comparison between Democratic and Republican administrations over the past 56 years. The claim is that Republican administrations created 24 million jobs while Democratic ones created 44 million. I believe that is a recycled and not so accurate claim. As I noted in a citing, "Partisan Economy," published in the December 2011 issue of Reason:

In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama crowed that "when Democrats have been in charge of the economy, the economy has grown faster, and it's also been fairer in the sense that everybody benefits." The other team's record, he said, was not as strong: "When the Republicans have been in charge, the economy has grown slower, and there's been greater inequality." 

Obama's claim was based on research by Princeton University political scientist Larry Bartels. But according to a recent study by State University of New York at Buffalo political scientist James Campbell, it's not true. In fact, he says, Democratic and Republican administrations correlate with roughly equal economic outcomes once you adjust for the impact of prior administrations.

Writing in the April 2011 issue of the applied politics journal The Forum, Campbell says Bartels failed to take into account the fact that Democratic presidents generally have bequeathed economies that were in or near recession to their Republican successors. If anything, Campbell suggests, Democrats' policies may have contributed to the poor economic conditions that led to their ouster. 

"Once the lagged effects of the economy in the six months leading into a year are taken into account," Campbell concludes, "there are no significant differences in the records of Democratic and Republican presidents with respect to economic growth, unemployment, and income inequality."

Alas, this sorry political season brings to mind the bitter observation of British historian E.P. Thompson:

"The foulest damage to our political life comes not from the 'secrets' which they hide from us, but from the little bits of half-truth and disinformation which they do tell us."

I can hardly wait for November.

NEXT: U.S. Retains Real Control Despite Afghan Prison Handover

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  1. On one of the windows I tend to keep open, the headline read something to the effect of:
    ‘Clinton claims dems lead to a more modern economy’
    OK, it’s not exact and since it’s no longer open, I can’t quote it specifically nor find out if that’s an AP (or similar) headline.
    Regardless, didn’t any dem (and, yes, shithead, that includes YOU) live through 1989?
    ‘I have seen the future and it works!’ Yep, it works for mass murder.

  2. hey Ron this year instead of voting for Obama like you did in 2008 might i suggest a vote for Gary Johnson?

    1. Corning: That’s the plan.

      1. Is Reason going to do one of those staff surveys again, or are they too toxic?

        1. sage: I believe we are going to do it online nearer the election. At least I hope so. Why “toxic?”

          1. Well, I remember Tim Cavanaugh specifically saying that he was voting for Obama because he was black. Awkward! And I think Dave Weigel’s vote is brought back quite often.

            The interesting thing would be to phrase the question: “Ron, in the last election you said you were voting for________. Do you regret that vote, and how does it compare with your vote this time?”

            1. Since you mentioned Weigel:

              David Weigel

              ….I’m voting for Barack Obama [in 2008], the only remaining candidate whom I trust not to run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions,…

              [Journolist] E-mails reveal Post reporter savaging conservatives, rooting for Democrats

              …In the e-mails, Weigel appeared particularly invested in the President’s health care law, expressing undisguised scorn for moderate Democrats who seemed fearful about voting for it….

              1. You missed this part from Weigel:

                which I would cast for Bob Barr if he was on the ballot. Since he’s not, I’m voting for Barack Obama,

                That would presume he also thought Barr would not run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions

        2. Welch’s big final exam after his first four years will be getting 100% compliance on the staff survey this year.

          1. Nah

            They are all either going to vote for Johnson or not vote…

            Except for Tim Cavanaugh who will vote for Romney. Which should be fun.

            1. I hope Lucy bucks the trend and votes Communist Party USA. Should make the list interesting.

              1. Naaaaa…..I’m pretty sure she’s writing in me.

                1. I’m writing in this guy
                  …and if you truly live by a higher moral code you realize sometimes you have to intimidate…

                  … I lived every moment after as if it were my last from the first cardiac arrest onward… Just look at how the right attacks me…

              2. That won’t work, since the CPUSA isn’t running a candidate this year, but is supporting Obama:…..essential/

  3. Obama’s claim was based on research by Princeton University political scientist Larry Bartels.

    1. loving: That’s what I said in my post.

  4. Hey Bailey, why don’t you cosmos over a Reason ever say anything negative about the Demoncraps? All I see is Romney bashing, especially on his special day, which was over the line. Now you’re trashing the greatest Republican president of the last half century; Bill Clinton.

    Oh wait, I just went full retard like some recent commenters. Sorry, won’t happen again. Keep up the good work, Ron.

    1. Relax big fella.

      Ron told us he voted for Obama in 2008.

      Of the reason staff (3 voted for Obama I think) he made the most compelling argument of why he did.

      ‘The Republicans need to be punished’

      In 2008 that was pretty hard to argue with.

      1. Worked out so well, too. No more wars, no more attacks on civil liberties, no more huge deficits, no more new entitlement programs, and a resurgent economy.

        1. FB: With due respect, where have you seen in the remarks of Romney and Ryan that they advocate cutting the Defense Dept., getting out of Afghanistan, repealing the Patriot Act? Need I remind you that Ryan voted in favor of expanding Medicare to cover prescription drugs? Do you really think that a McCain administration could have delivered a “resurgent economy?”

          1. maybe not “resurgent” – but I bet it would be friendlier to businesses. And perhaps a better (ha!) Healthcare ‘overhaul’ – at least something not as constitutionally suspect.

          2. Actually, Romney wants to expand defense and Medicare and restore the feeble cuts in them Obama has signed.

            At least he says that now. Check back later today.

            I love seeing “libertarians” doing the Romney dance now that Ron Paul is officially out.

          3. The point is, it was silly to believe that punishing the Republicans by voting for Obama, and handing all power to Democrats, would result in anything but gross abuse of that power.

            Using the punishment logic, you really have no choice now but to vote Romney and a straight Republican ticket. The Democrats deserve it!

  5. “In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama crowed that “when Democrats have been in charge of the economy…”

    That’s the economic moron’s problem right there. No one is “in charge” of the economy.

    The economy is created entirely by the private sector. No president – or government has ever been “in charge” of it or had anything whatsoever to with creating it.

    1. North Korea has pretty good control of its economy.

      Speaking of controlling the economy I am reading Marco Polo.

      In it is described the Khan’s use of paper money and which says after describing how paper money is used:

      “Upon these grounds, it may certainly be affirmed that the Grand Khan has a more extensive command of treasure then any other sovereign in the universe.”

      Scary stuff.

    2. What a bunch of crap. None of them created a single job unless they hired a Gardener with their own money.

      I also don’t believe for a moment that the statistic is true.

      1. Obama has funded the creation of White House brew out of his own pocket, so he seems to understand some micro. However, by my calculations, his investment project would have to crowd out 37 percent of the current domestic market, 50 percent of the foreign and be equally successful on an interstellar level on at least 3.5 million earth sized planets with an earth sized population of beer consumers to make up for the damage his spending priorities have cost this nation.

    3. Yep, the only way either party can ‘create’ jobs is to get the hell out of the way and let the private sector do what it does best.

      1. But, but, but how will people know what to do without given orders from central planners?

        But, but, but how can people be trusted to create the jobs that they’re supposed to create without orders from central planners?

        Besides, no innovation has ever happened without the government! Biden said so!

  6. DId you see Michelle Obama delivering the Top 10 list?
    She’s so dreamy.

    1. I think you already missed the chewbacca thread earlier.

  7. There are only two sides to every story. It’s unfortunate that both of them are wrong.

  8. Hearing pols babbling about “economic patriotism” is more than enough to convince me that they know nothing about the economy.

    As much as Democrats mock Ayn Rand, you’d think they would at least try not to sound like the villains in her novels.

    1. If they were able to comprehend that they sound like the villans in her novels, they wouldn’t be Democrats.

  9. Then there was the time Raggedy Anne got kicked out of the toy box for sitting on Pinocchio’s face and yelling “Lie to me Baby! Lie to me!”

    1. Made me think of this great Tom Waits vid.

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