Former U.S. President Bill Clinton highlighted a stunning fact during his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday: Democratic presidents have overseen the creation of nearly twice as many jobs as Republican presidents since 1961.
"What's the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 [million]," Clinton said to cheers and applause.
On Wednesday, Clinton used the figure to justify Democratic policies.
"It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics," Clinton said. "Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn't just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all."
That said, Democratic presidents may not be able to take all the credit for the private-sector jobs created during their tenure. After all, the economy saw a big boost under Clinton in part because of the technology boom and stock market bubble that resulted -- Clinton arguably was just in the right place at the right time.
Presidents' economic policies clearly play some role in the job growth that results while they're in power, however. And on that measure, both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have performed very poorly. An average of 63,500 jobs were created per month during Bush's tenure, according to Labor Department data. Under Obama, an average 62,500 jobs have been created per month when taking into account job losses at the beginning of his tenure.
Presidents of both parties have implemented policies that may have stifled job growth for future presidents. For example, it was Clinton who repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated investment banking from consumer banking. Some say the repeal of Glass-Steagall played a major role in the financial crisis, since it helped allow banks to become too big to fail.
The subsequent financial crisis also happened on Bush's watch, and Obama has been saddled with much of the job wreckage that resulted.
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