ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Former President Bill Clinton remains among the most popular politicians in America — more popular even than President Obama. But a recent television ad from the Obama campaign in which he is featured makes questionable claims about what caused the Great Recession.
This is what Bill Clinton said:
“This election, to me, is about which candidate is more likely to return us to full employment. The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on higher income people and go back to deregulation. That’s what got us into trouble in the first place. President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up — investing in innovation, education and job training. It only works if there is a strong middle class. That’s what happened when I was president. We need to keep going with his plan.”
The ad is filled with political sins of omission.
What it DOESN’T say, however, is parts of the financial deregulation that helped fuel the global recession got started under Democratic President Bill Clinton, and continued under Republican President George W. Bush.
Clinton, as well as a majority of Democrats and Republicans, repealed parts of the Glass Steagel Act, laws that regulated banks and investment firms. It led to wildly risky lending and investments.
That’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY.
The Bush tax cuts may have contributed to America’s huge debt and its deficit, but few economists believe it caused the Great Recession.
It is TRUE that Mitt Romney advocates tax cuts for the wealthy.
But his plan, as he told Meet the Press on Sunday, cuts marginal income tax rates by 20 percent for ALL taxpayers, not just the wealthy.
“If we bring down our top rates, and actually go across the board,” said Romney, “bring down rates for everyone in America but also limit loopholes and deductions for people at the high end.”
The biggest uncertainty for voters may be that Romney won’t say what those loopholes and deductions he’ll eliminate, and how he’ll pay for it.
Reality Check Resources:
Glass-Steagall Act Explained
Repeal of Glass-Steagall
Mitt Romney Tax Cut Plan
President Barack Obama
Mitt Romney on Meet the Press
George Bush Tax Cuts
CBO Report on Tax Cut Economic Impact
CBS Money Watch
Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
Bill Clinton Approval
Barack Obama Approval