Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Clashing Views on Economy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Clashing Views on Economy

Article excerpt

If President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are to be believed, the economy will stay strong despite a slowdown. If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are to be believed, the nation is clearly headed toward a recession.

Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's view that there may no longer be a need for another interest rate increase, and suggesting that a rate decrease may happen early next year has become a matter of political interpretation between the candidates and their respective parties.

Clinton, for example, last week predicted that the U.S. economy would continue to expand, although at a slower pace. In his weekly radio address, as CNN reported, Clinton said that the bulk of evidence suggests that our record-breaking expansion is continuing.

No doubt speaking with a possible Bush-Cheney administration in mind, Clinton said that while growth rates of up to 5 percent could not be sustained forever, he cautioned against a major change in his economic policies by the next administration. What Clinton was specifically referring to was the massive tax cuts proposed by the Bush-Cheney team.

Clinton and his top economic advisers warn that such a tax cut would jeopardize the economy. Bush and his supporters, as CNN reported, suggest his tax cut proposal would be an insurance policy against an economic downturn.

But there is a legitimate argument as to what could happen to the economy during a Bush-Cheney administration. One reason the economy boomed along during the Clinton-Gore administration is that more consumers benefited from it, including millions of working middle- class families who saw financial improvement during the past eight years.

Unemployment, for example, was at a record low during the Clinton years. Although the unemployment rate inched up to 4 percent in November, Clinton maintained that the rate remained close to its 30- year low. But, as some reports have shown, as unemployment inched up, so did the stock market.

The Clinton-Gore administration had a policy of keeping unemployment low and wages high for most working families, while keeping much of its agenda focused on improving the business climate for corporations, as witnessed in its support of permanent trade status policy for China. …

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