Hike taxes on the rich.
It worked for Bill Clinton.
It will work for me.
That's pretty much the argument Barack Obama uses for doing now, what Bill Clinton did nearly two decades ago.
Hit the wealthy. And we'll all be more wealthy.
Here's the problem.
"Then"...is not "now."
Bill Clinton "did" raise taxes on the upper income.
But he was doing so in what was a significantly improving economy.
Things were picking up steam and fast...
A bit too late for anyone to notice for one George Bush, senior...but a much better environment than today for even entertaining raising taxes.
Now let me be clear. For my money...There’s "never" a good time to raise taxes...but let's just say it was a heck of a lot better "back then" than it is "now."
Further, what Clinton did next went beyond anything this president is proposing now.
He cut spending. A lot.
And he presented budgets that showed a steady path out of deficits that won over markets a lot. Crucial.
Clinton wasn't perfect; to be sure...but his commitment to proving he was a new democrat who wouldn't resort to the same old spending...was a welcome revelation..."that" is for sure!
Humbled by a mid-term republican takeover of the house and the onset of the Gingrich revolution, Clinton didn't fight the parade...
He got in front of it.
...reforming entitlements, initiating sweeping welfare to work programs, and then cutting a host of investment-related taxes...
The boom was on. And individual investors were in. In retrospect, maybe too much.
Some say Clinton actually went overboard...relaxing rules for derivatives trading that many argue set the stage for the risky bets that led to the financial meltdown years later.
But I’m not here to debate what Clinton did "during" the boom...just how he got us to the boom.
With plenty of help, and plenty of horse-trading.
Clinton was as "pragmatic" as this president is "dogmatic."
He was open to making deals, because it sure as hell beat being a one-term deal.
Bill Clinton read the big government bashing tea leaves and didn't just shake his head from the sidelines...he picked up the flag and led it like a conga line.
It worked because Clinton showed balance and nerve.
Say what you will about his presidency then, those are flexible qualities lacking in this one now.