William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President (1993-2001), would have ranked in the top tier of all time socialist presidents and massively accelerated the descent into socialism except he had a major problem. After his first two years in office, the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for the remainder of his presidency and blunted his efforts to move the nation toward the left (you thought we were going to talk about something else, didn’t you!). That doesn’t mean that Bill Clinton didn’t do any damage, he did plenty of damage and particularly so in his first two years in office. Clinton, along with his wife and able co-conspirator Hillary, attempted to foist upon the American people a massive centrally controlled health care plan and that contributed mightily to the shellacking the Democrats took in the congressional elections of 1994, the first time in forty years that the Republicans controlled Congress. After 1994 Clinton pretended to be a centrist, which he was not.
It is not within the scope of this post to delve into the many personal problems of Bill Clinton – his draft dodging, sexual liaisons and various shady dealings while involved in Arkansas politics. Bill Clinton, like most people who rise to high office, was a very brilliant person and was a Rhodes Scholar. Clinton had a penchant for prevarication but was so intelligent he could seemingly remember who he had told what lies to – now that’s brilliant.
Upon taking office Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which required large employers to allow employees to take unpaid leave for pregnancy or a serious medical condition. In his first address to the nation Clinton announced his plan to raise taxes to cap the budget deficit. Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (who comes up with these names) that cut taxes for fifteen million low-income families and raised taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers (redistribution of wealth). He expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, a subsidy for low-income workers. Clinton bears more responsibility than any other single individual for the housing collapse in 2008. By instituting executive orders effective in January, 1995 he constructed the conditions that fomented the problem (see our previous post “Anatomy of a Disaster”). Clinton’s socialist thinking was instrumental in one of the largest financial collapses in American history. The Clintons were the driving force behind the legislation forming the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act, all large government programs (SCHIP being the largest health care reform passed in the years of the Clinton Presidency).
One example of Bill Clinton in action should give you a clear view of why he had richly earned the nickname “Slick Willy.” Once in power in Congress in January, 1995 the Republicans passed the Welfare Reform Act. The welfare laws put in place by the Democrats had constructed a matching funds system whereby each dollar of state money spent on welfare was matched by a dollar of federal money. This system encouraged states to expand the welfare rolls since the more people they put on welfare, the more federal money they would receive. The huge numbers of people on welfare and the expanding welfare rolls were becoming a financial burden. The new law block granted fixed amounts of money to each state for welfare. Under the new law states could keep whatever of that amount they did not spend, thus encouraging states to get people off the welfare rolls. The new law was a disaster for the socialists for several reasons. First, it gave incentives to reduce the welfare rolls, something socialists want to see expanded. Second, it took control away from Washington and gave control to the states, reversing centralized political power, a fundamental requirement of socialism. Third, and most importantly, if successful it constructed a model whereby other federal functions could be returned to the states, a disaster in the eyes of socialists. On two occasions, in late 1995 and early 1996, the Welfare Reform Act was passed and sent to Clinton. He vetoed it both times. Then the Republicans decided to wait until September 1996 while Clinton was in a heated reelection campaign and sent him the bill again. Afraid that another veto could cost him the election, Clinton signed the bill, claiming (falsely) that it now had the correct provisions that he wanted. Within a year it was obvious the bill was working and by March 1999 the number of people on welfare had been cut in half. Once it was obvious that the bill was working, Clinton tried to claim credit for it saying that he had “ended welfare as we know it.” How do we know that signing the Welfare Reform Act was a political ploy by Clinton to help him get reelected? In early 2009 shortly after being elected Barack Obama modified the Welfare Reform Act that had worked so well and then continuously modified it even further to attempt to return the country to the old system. Bill Clinton offered not a single complaint – not a peep out of him.
Beginning in 1998 impeachment proceedings were begun against President Clinton thereby making him only the second President ever to be impeached (Andrew Johnson). They had Clinton on perjury and obstruction of justice, probably the same things they had Nixon on but the liberal media in this case rushed to his defense. The impeachment was a dumb move by the Republican Party. From a practical standpoint, they knew they did not have the votes to convict. The precedent it set, however, will be longer lasting since now they can pry into a President’s personal business and try to get the goods on him. They should have let the Starr report just sit there and hang over Clinton’s head. The Republicans got an “F” on their report card for this action.