Seeing the pirouetting of the Obama Administration while the American people scratch their collective noggin and ask, "Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?", it is compelling to think of a time when a modern member of the Democrat party has made reasonable adjustments that led to long-term economic prosperity.
Well, besides when Kennedy acted like a Republican and slashed taxes, that is.
And one engaged in such an intellectual mission is simply bound to come up dry.
"But wait!" gasps the fair reader, who believes that truth sometimes, somehow emanates from the CBS Evening News, Oprah, and The Daily Show, "what about the highly-vaunted Clinton economy?"
Ah, yes, the myth of the Clinton economy. But one who accepted the belief system of The Daily Show would believe in such tales, which inevitably involve princesses, dragons, and begin with "Once upon a time in a land far away..." wouldn't one?
Futures Magazine first made the point in early 2001 (by my recollection) that the "Clinton economy" was a myth of the same magnitude as the much-harassed Yeti and alien abductions, though thankfully without the latter's uncomfortable probes (the myth, not the economy!). I still have in my files the magazine's chart showing the buildup of the stock market throughout the Clinton years. The below is a reasonable reproduction of that chart, for the sake of argument.
And the discerning reader will of course, note that in the initial years of the Clinton administration the economy was less than robust. In fact, let's be clear, there were times it was in slight decline, and at best it was barely holding its own until....
Until what? Well, look at the chart! Elections take place in November, do they not? And those elected are installed in office in the following January, are they not?
And you will note that the steep run-up in the Dow Jones Industrial Average took place following the 1994 election, which replaced a decrepit, corrupt, and high-taxing band of liberals with tax-slashing, welfare-busting, and otherwise swashbuckling Republicans who had vowed to push a pre-defined "Contract with America."
The increase in economic health during the Clinton administration was, of course, due to the fact that Clinton wasn't getting his way for the last six years of it! His strategy of "triangulation," recommended by Republican strategist Dick Morris (brought in expressly to breathe fresh life into his faltering administration, if condom-covered Christmas trees and otherwise juicy Gap dresses and cigars can be dignified with the term administration). whereby Clinton agreed to do his best impression of Republicans (remember "the era of big government is over" and "the end of welfare as we know it"?) while cooperating - but to a lesser degree - with the GOP, leaves us with the lesson: when Democrats have free rein (reign?), prepare for misery.
Which is precisely the finding of Yale economist Ray Fair. Fair, in attempting to discern the relative effectiveness of the two American parties' general economic policies (and eschewing the Democratic penchant for determining said effect by examining the entrails of a chicken or by happily guessing, as Joe Biden recently confessed was the Obama administration's [sic] strategy, but I digress....), he found that the more reliably and long-term a state votes Democratic, the higher was their unemployment rate in this most recent April.
Where a state has reliably voted for a Democratic candidate since the 1980s (and one assumes, where the socialist policies of the Democratic party find most general acceptance at state and local levels as well) are now experiencing unemployment levels approaching double digits. States that have been solidly Democratic since the 1990s are slightly lower, and states which turned "blue" since 2000 slightly exceed 8 per cent. States that have been GOP strongholds since 2000 have the next highest unemployment, followed by states that are reliably GOP since the 1990s. Of course, that group of states which are most solidly GOP, and which have voted for Republican candidates most reliably since the 1980s, have the lowest unemployment levels of all.
Moral of the Story One: Voting has very real consequences.
Moral of the Story Two: Obama's high-tax, increasing-regulation, spend-like-flowing-water, fascistic-takeover-of-business, let's nationalize the whole country approach is not likely to make things better.
But, like Clinton, he has to face midterm elections.
The solution will be to vote a straight Republican ticket come 2010.