Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review May 14, 2001 / 21 Iyar, 5761

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The Clinton legacy -- THERE are times when I feel guilty for hammering Bill Clinton. He is a man who accomplished a miracle, rising up from humble beginnings in Hope, Ark., to become the most powerful person in the world. And he did it with little help. Mr. Clinton was raised primarily by his flamboyant mother, and although she adored him, she could offer him little in the way of worldly influence. I admire self-made people, and William Jefferson Clinton is all that. But that is where my admiration stops.

We are all suffering right now because of Bill Clinton's presidency, and it has nothing to do with his moral failings. It has everything to do with his policy failings.

The current earnings recession and economic slowdown has its roots in Mr. Clinton's final year in office. During that time, he turned away from managing the economy and devoted a huge amount of time fund-raising for himself (the Clinton Library), his wife's senatorial campaign and the Democratic Party. Spurned by Al Gore, Mr. Clinton traveled not to deliver a political message, but to grab your wallet. His wanderings turned into a giant mobile flea market where he sold his time and presence for major dollars.

Mr. Clinton also became obsessed with brokering a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This, of course, led to nothing but more hatred and violence, as we are seeing now on a daily basis.

With the president's attention diverted, Alan Greenspan and his merry band inexplicably kept the U.S. money supply tight, even as manufacturing orders, especially in high-tech, were slowing drastically. There was no political pressure on the Fed to cut rates as Mr. Clinton was paying scant attention. Thus, in December, when Greenspan still declined to cut interest rates, the economic dam broke, and the waters of declining earnings flooded the stock market.

The bad economic news was compounded by the fact that Mr. Clinton never had an energy policy and allowed the OPEC nations to cut oil production without challenge. Energy prices soared, cutting into corporate profits and gutting the take-home pay of American workers.

Mr. Clinton knew there weren't enough oil refineries in the United States but made no attempt to build any. He also knew that America's dependence on foreign oil was at an all-time high but failed to encourage consumers to conserve energy, because that might annoy his SUV-driving soccer mom base. Bill Clinton fiddled while oil and natural gas burned. And finally, the nation's most powerful state, California, simply ran out of power.

In his last days as president, Mr. Clinton signed a number of environmental orders but never once warned anybody about the growing scarcity of energy. To say he was pandering to the greens is a gross understatement.

Bill Clinton's education policies have also been a disaster. Despite a massive amount of federal spending, 60 percent of the nation's poor fourth-graders still can barely read. Mr. Clinton was a champion of educational spending but made no attempt to tie the money to performance. This endeared him to the teachers' unions but didn't do much for at-risk kids who desperately need discipline and learning standards.

The second most at-risk group in America are poor seniors. And what did Mr. Clinton do for them? Drug prices are the highest they've ever been. Some seniors are still traveling to Mexico and Canada to get their prescriptions filled.

But prices for illegal drugs are the lowest they've ever been. Street heroin and cocaine are readily available all over the United States with no waiting. That's because narcotics continue to flood into this country while Bill Clinton and his drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, introduced absolutely no effective federal measures designed to cut either supply or demand. Mr. Clinton's NAFTA agreement with Mexico allowed for freer passage through our southern border. The "traffic" that ensued had little do with cars and trucks.

So there's your Clinton legacy, and you can take it over to Barbra Streisand's house and drop it on her lawn. The president wasted one full year lying about his sexcapades and another year asking people for money. The other six years he talked a really good game. But talk is cheap and gas is not. If our cars and homes and stores ran on hot air, Bill Clinton might be right up there with Abe Lincoln.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and The Completely Ridiculous in American Life. Comments by clicking here.


05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate