Did Bush inherit a recession from Clinton?

Did George W. Bush inherit a recession ( Downturn in a country’s economy, as measure by a decline in Gross Domestic Product. Two consecutive quarters is the technical definition for recession) from Bill Clinton?
defintion of recession from here:


My source: the internet.

/Peggy Hill Off

I think this will shortly move to GD.

In the mean time, yes, I believe he did.

However, after three failed tax cuts to stimulate the economy, and the huge revenue hogs for DHS and the various terrorism wars, Bush owns the continuing problems with the economy.

So it may have started under Clinton, but Bush’s actions are continuing it beyond anything reasonable.

Unfortunately, I can’t find good references for some of my answer to this. You may have to trust my memory. The part that is indisputable is that the recession (technically defined) occurred in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2001. Since Bush only took office in January, 2001, I’m not sure if even his greatest critics can suggest that he managed to destroy the US economy in two months. So you have to conclude that the recession started as a result of events that took place under Clinton’s term.

The other thing that I know is fact but can’t find my reference is that the growth numbers for the last year of so of Clinton’s term were revised downward about a year or so ago. The GDP numbers are estimated and it takes several years to actually pull all the data together to confirm them, at which time they are revised.

The conspiracy theory part:
Republicans were convinced that the collapsing stock market must indicate a considerable fall in GDP in 1999 and 2000 but the estimated GDP growth never reflected this. In fact, in spite of the stock market losses, Bush was attacked for “talking down the economy” during the campaign. Some Republicans have suggested that the Clinton administration manipulated the GDP estimates to keep the bad news out of the press until after the election. Economists seem to feel this is more of an indication that the GDP numbers aren’t nearly as accurate as most people have assumed.

Why? It has a factual answer. Either tThere was a recession when Clinton left office or not. However, I can’t find the numbers online.

I blame the liberal media :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  1. Before election, some pundits predict that the economy will tank if Bush wins the Presidency.

  2. A signifcant number of people believe this prediction.

  3. Bush wins the Presidency.

  4. A significant number of people, remembering the predictions, begin to hoard their money.

  5. Because money is not being spent, businesses see a revenue drop. Because of the revenue drop, they start laying off workers, who now have even less money to spend.

  6. The economy tanks. See, the pundits were right!

One must first define “recession”: Two consecutive quarters of negative growth, I believe? Or is this definition too simplistic and no longer in vogue?

Pay attention, Sentient. That definition was mentioned in the OP. I believe it is still the current definition of a recession.

The media talk all through 2000 was about Clinton and Greenspan achieving a “soft landing” for the wildly expanding economy. Here’s a typical bit of analysis from the era:

Little did anyone know that the plane’s landing gear were not deployed.

What Duckster said.

What Duckster said is what you hear from most econimists. The current downturn started under Clinton, but you can fairly blame Dubya for it still existing three years later.

OK, since we’ve agreed to give Bush full credit/blame for the current economy here’s todays headline story:

Economy Grows at Fastest Pace Since 1984

Seriously, although we almost invariably elect Presidents based on economic conditions, I continue to believe Washington is (fortunately) only a minor factor in overall economic cycles.


Hey, you guys, this is a great party! But what’s that elephant doing in the corner?

Yes, we were on our way to a recession, for which President Clinton can reasonably be blamed if you’re inclined to blame anyone (but also blame him for the Internet bubble, which probably happened just because its time had come). But in the middle of trying to solve this problem and any number of other problems, President Bush was handed a problem that demanded 99% of his attention, and also managed to kick our already-faltering economy while it was staggering.

You can blame September 11th on President Clinton if you’re so inclined, or blame it on Presidents Bush (Sr.) and Reagan if you feel that they had something to do with Osama’s rise to power. I really don’t care. But it’s pretty clear to me that President Bush (Jr.) can’t be held responsible for the events of September 11th.

This will not prevent him from taking credit for the economy’s resurgence, which may be a natural recovery from Sept. 11th, or may actually be caused by his tax cuts. Likewise, the internet “bubble” was not Clinton’s fault, but every time he said “the economy is strong” in a speech, he was implicitly taking credit.

What it comes down to is: the current President will blame the last unfriendly administration for current economic problems (or external events when lucky enough to have a visible target). The current President will also take credit for everything good that happens on his watch. When it’s election time, the candidates will say how much better things will be on their watch, and that the current President is playing the “blame game” by shifting the blame for everything bad onto the previous administration.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Bush Jr. won’t be in office by the time we have a full year of growth.

The recession isn’t Clinton’s fault, but nor is it Bush’s. The blame may be laid on Alan Greenspan’s desk, for not tightening the money supply when spending was clearly spiralling out of control, and in the begging plates of overly greedy dot-com sharks who invested in businesses that clearly couldn’t remain solvent for long.

Wait a minute. I don’t understand this at all. Is it two consecutive quarters of negative growth that makes a recession, or two consecutive quarters of downturn? And where are the official numbers?

This graph, which shows that the GDP grew throughout 2000, just not as quickly in 3Q and 4Q. It also shows an upswing in 1Q 2001, which was 2/3 GW Bush’s.

And what’s the deal with this graph, which apparently revises the figures to show that there were not two consecutive quarters of downturn in 2000, and that the first negative growth quarter didn’t grace us until 3Q 2001?

Or how about this graph, which shows that the only three quarters of actual negative growth were in 2001 proper?

And what does this have to do with the apparent CYA maneuver that Dick Cheney made as VP-Elect in December 2000? Note also that Cheney said the US was “moving toward” a recession, not that his boss was about to inherit one.

So, since this is General Questions and I’m certainly not an economist, please show me:

  1. That economists agree that a “recession” is two quarters of declining, but still positive growth, rather than two quarters of negative growth.

  2. That there were two consecutive quarters in the year 2000 which match the definition of a recession.

  3. Where I can find the official figures for the US GDP for the past five years, not projections, so that we can verify for certain that there even was a period in the year 2000 which meets the definition of “recession,” whatever it is.

  4. That assuming the growth of the GDP actually increased in 4Q 2000 (or 1Q 2001, I can’t tell which yet) apparently indicating a recovery from a downturn, why the twenty days of Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1Q 2001 can be used to blame the disaster that was 2001 entirely on Bill Clinton.

Seriously, this thread will go into GD if someone doesn’t show up with actual definitions and real numbers. This is not my kettle of fish, but I know there are a lot of you out there who know these things well. Help me out with some real answers.

Okay, I’ve found this, which attempts to define what a recession is and when it happened:

Do our resident money-minds agree with this assessment?

two problems with this debate are that the numbers roll in about 6-12 mos after the fact, so when Bush I was defeated for the recession we had already recovered. Another is that Presidents get too much blame and too much credit for the economy. Most of the changes in economic output are the result of the busienss cycle rather than government. The recent recession was more severe due to the excess investment caused by the internet bubble and the preparations for Y2K, the latter bubble fomented by the Federal Reserve which is owned by private banks in teh US which feared a panic.

Well, there was a “Market Correction” and a cyclical downturn coming no matter who was President. In fact, the correction for the NASDAQ had already occured in the Spring of that last Clinton year.

The “recession” in the early quarters of Bush’s Presidency was not the fault of GWB being President or any of his policies. However-it was to a great extent caused by him being ELECTED President. It is clear that when the investors saw that Bush had won the Election, they began a Bull stampede. I have to admit I was part of that (but not enough, I only sold 75% of my stock holdings, whereas I should have divested all of them). They/we predicted a Market downturn because of GWB, and it became a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.

This is why the Tax cuts didn’t work- or worked very slowly. The investors saw the cuts as an indication that the economy was bad (after all, if it isn’t bad, why such drastic measures to “fix” it?), and continued their stampede.

Now the economy is showing definate signs of an upturn. Is this the result of GWB’s tax cuts & economic policies, or just part of the normal cycle? Or has the “herd of bulls” just gotten tired of stampeding? :smiley:

I agree with Lemonthrower- the President gets too much blame and credit for the economy. Personally, I think this recent upturn would have happened without any drastic Tax cuts, in fact I think they made it worse.

So no- you can’t blame the “recession” on Bushs actual POLICIES so much as the Markets PERCEPTION of what his policies would be.

What there an actual, as defined, recession in 2001?

Yes, using the definition that at least two quarters of negative growth (GDP is reduced) the recession started in March, 2001 and ended in Noverber of 2001. Here is a pretty good explanation and comparison of the last three recessions (1981-82, 1990-91, 2001):

The most notable features of the 2001 recession were that it was very mild and short, and that the recovery has been very slow. Economists seem to think these two factors are linked. In 2001 the economy may have been more overheated than in previous recessions but it was preceded by two years of steep decline in the stock markets. This unusual occurence, combined with the results of the technology revolution in business altered the usual recession trend. Another theory I have seen is that the tech revolution has resulted in a productivity boom that, unlike earlier times, has resulted (and been a result of) reduction in workers and transferring functions to off shore locations. As a result we have a “jobless recovery” which is, by necessity, a slow recovery.

Public pronouncements aside, my guess is that the Bush administration knew that tax cuts result in a slower but more solid recovery. This makes sense from both a long term policy basis and a political basis (for a President in his first two years in office). You can spend your way out of a recession also, but spending on Homeland Security and the War on Terror, although necessary, won’t do as much to increase productivity and employment as other types of spending (infrastructure and economic development).