Electioneering puts nation's prosperity in spotlight
November 13, 1999
Web posted at: 10:32 p.m. EST (0332 GMT)
From White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As the 2000 presidential primaries grow
closer, it only seems natural that politicians are taking
credit for the nation's long-running economic boom.
President Clinton leads the list. "We have the longest
peacetime expansion in history, the highest homeownership ,
19.8 million new jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in 30
years, the lowest welfare rolls in 30 years, the lowest
poverty rates in 20 years, the first back-to-back surpluses
in 42 years, and the federal government is the smallest it's
been in 37 years, said Wednesday. "The record is in."
Few dispute those numbers. But many are taking credit for
"Three parties deserve credit: The Democrats, the Republicans
and perhaps most of all Lady Luck," said analyst Henry Aaron
of the Brookings Institution.
Aaron defined Lady Luck as the surprise drop in unemployment
to historic lows without the rising inflation that usually
Economists cite former President Bush's deficit reduction
plan in 1990, followed by Clinton's.
"The Clinton budget in 1993 certainly contributed to the good
budget surplus that we have now," said Alice Rivlin, former
director of the Congressional Budget Office. "It was partly
the tax increase, which came at the top of the income scale."
Economists also point to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan keeping interest rates low, fueling investment and
And experts credit the computer revolution for allowing
companies to become more productive.
"The silver bullet in terms of this historic expansion in
productivity has been growing much faster than people thought
it could," said Jerry Jasinowski of the National Association
of Manufacturers. "And it causes economic growth and jobs and
everything else to be better."
Economists are mixed about whether the robust growth will
continue into the upcoming election year.
But one point they all agree on is that during next year's
presidential election, voters will be looking for the
candidate most likely to keep the economic engine running.
White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace contributed to this report.