Last week, conservatives lost their collective minds after Hillary Clinton made an offhand comment about putting her husband, former President Bill Clinton, "in charge of revitalizing the economy." In his Monday New York Times column, Paul Krugman examined whether Bill was actually responsible for the economic boom that happened under his watch, and offered some lessons to be learned from it.
First, he established that while the boom was not the result of Clinton's economic policies, they did little "to get in the way of prosperity" -- even though he raised taxes on the wealthy in 1993. "One big lesson of the Clinton boom," he noted, "is that the conclusion conservatives want you to draw from their incessant Reaganolatry — that lavishing tax cuts on the rich is the key to prosperity, and that any rise in top tax rates will bring retribution from the invisible hand — is utterly false."
The second lesson to be learned from Bill Clinton's time in office is that however it's accomplished, full employment and real wage growth are prerequisites to general economic prosperity:
Unfortunately, we can’t count on another spontaneous surge in technology-driven private investment to drive job creation. But some kinds of private investment might grow rapidly if we take long-overdue steps to address climate change.
And in any case, not all productive investment is private. We desperately need to repair and upgrade our infrastructure...