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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/25/16

The Bill Clinton Legacy

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Much of this was subsumed by Clinton's infamous announcement, in his 1996 State of the Union Address, that the "era of big government is over." This full extension of Reaganite social and economic policy of course applied only to national domestic spending, not such areas as the expansion of the draconian "drug war": a prime example of big government intruding into choices of personal behavior.

And then, in the economic realm, but again also just briefly here, there were the likely two most important actions/disasters of the Clinton Administration, each of which has played a direct role in the continuation and indeed strengthening of Reaganomics and the increasing stranglehold that the GOP has over fiscal policy. First was the Repeal of the Depression Era Glass-Steagall Act (interestingly enough, they were both Southerners) that had separated commercial and investment banking. That repeal of course led directly to the Crash of 2008 from which millions of people on this country have never recovered and likely never will. Second, there were NAFTA (actually, Clinton just gave in to following through on a George H.W. Bush initiative -- the Duopoly at work) and the World Trade Organization initiatives, which led to the massive export of US capital to countries with (much) cheaper labor and that "massive whooshing sound" of job outflow that Ross Perot referred to in the 1992 Presidential Election Campaign). One could write a whole column about those two, of course.

They have led invariably to the decline of US manufacturing, the parallel decline of US trade unionism, the creation of the permanent army of the unemployed, the ever-widening gap between the poor and everyone else, the increasingly creative use of the tax code to support the use of overseas so-called "tax shelters" that enable the avoidance of the payment of billions of dollars in taxes, and so on and so forth. And who is taking advantage of all these negative outcomes of Republican policies that have been further promoted by Democratic Duopolists? Indeed, Trump, as intellectually limited as he is, has been able to exploit so well what I have called "Republican Genius."

Some legacy, eh wot? Clinton's policies led to long-range disaster on the domestic side, while Bush's led to long-range disaster on the foreign policy side. No wonder they seem to get along so well with each other when they meet at various galas. Indeed, there is every chance that the first Clinton Presidency could be an overture to a second one. And not an overture by either Mozart or Rossini, either.

This column is based in part on one I published on the BuzzFlash/Commentary on Wednesday, 06 August 2014.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
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