With every televised U.S. presidential debate, listeners are fed a line of bull by candidates about how great previous United States presidents were and how the country needs to return to their policies in order to “make America great again!”
All that’s needed, the Republican candidates say, is to resurrect Reagan policies and today’s U.S. problems will be solved. “Vote for me, and I’ll return to Reagan and restore U.S. greatness,” we’re told.
With the Democrats, it’s a bit more subtle but the underlying message is the same. Under Hillary’s hubby, Bill Clinton in the 1990s, the U.S. created a record number of jobs, incomes were rising, the healthcare crisis was contained, and the U.S. had achieved a “new economy” of prosperity that would only improve further in the 21st century. Under Bill, we were on the right track. George W. Bush screwed it up by reversing course. All we need then is to get back to that “Clinton track” and good times will return again.
But what are the facts? Were Clinton policies a diversion from Reagan? A continuation? Worse?