It is important to separate Clinton-era mythology from the real economic record. In the mythology, Clinton's decision to raise taxes and cut spending led to an investment boom. This boom led to a surge in productivity growth. Soaring productivity growth led to the low unemployment of the late 1990s and wage gains for workers at all points along the wage distribution.
At the end of the administration, there was a huge surplus, and we set target dates for paying off the national debt. The moral of the myth is that all good things came from deficit reduction.
The reality was quite different.
Kinda puts it all into perspective. And since I'm posting links about Clinton, Jonathan Schwarz deals with a myth that Clinton started out governing from the left, but that reality forced him to become a sensible "centrist." Didn't happen.
You see, Bill Clinton began his presidency by giving into his wild-eyed leftist instincts. But the wise American people rejected his class warfare! They punished him and the Democrats by giving control of congress to Republicans in the 1994 midterm elections. So Clinton sobered up and governed from the center. Obama better not repeat Clinton's mistakes by giving into the left! The End.
In reality, of course, Clinton knuckled under to the center right—much of which was located within the Democratic party—from the very beginning. Following their advice, he went all out to pass NAFTA, then failed to pass universal health care. People who'd been desperate in 1992 saw no economic improvement by 1994. And with the low 45% voter turnout in the midterms, the Democrats lost control of Congress (mostly via the defeat of center right Democrats).
Have a super day.