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Press Release

Jack Kemp Criticizes President Clinton's Refusal to Acknowledge Economic Dangers

12/22/2000

Today Empower America co-director, Jack Kemp issued the following statement:

"Isn’t it ironic that yesterday, the same day we were reminded that economic growth is the slowest in four years, President Clinton’s economic guru, Gene Sperling, decided to trash the incoming Bush administration for expressing sincere concern over the weakening state of the economy? While the Clinton administration disingenuously accused the President-elect of ‘talking down’ the economy in order to sell his tax rate cut, the Wall Street Journal ran a big headline saying ‘Global Slowdown Surprises Economists.’ Well, it doesn’t surprise me, even if the Clinton Administration is in high dudgeon pretending that a recession, if it comes, will be the fault of George W. Bush because he dared talk about it. This Administration continues to be in self-denial. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Clinton spokesmen continue to spin their heads off attempting to divert attention from the fact that the economic slide began on the watch of the Clinton Administration and the Greenspan Fed.

"Back in February I wrote in my syndicated column for Copley News Service that ‘the Fed made a huge mistake when it raised interest rates again by a quarter-point’ to fulfill Alan Greenspan’s goal of slowing down the economy. I warned that the Fed’s mistake could lead to recession. Again in April, I pointed out that ‘a Congress and president insistent on retiring debt and refusing to cut tax rates, a Fed determined to slow economic growth, a Justice Department fanatical to penalize corporate success. . .are live threats to the stock market and our prosperity.’

"And so they proved to be, as even Alan Greenspan acknowledged this week. Apparently President Clinton is the last to know. The economy is slowing rapidly and showing signs of a not-so-soft landing: retail sales down 0.4 percent in November and Christmas sales are down 8 percent from a year ago; industrial production is down 0.2 percent, the second consecutive drop in the output of America’s factories; inventories are rising, profits are down; the NASDAQ index is down 43% for the year, and the Dow Jones is down over 10% since January 1. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have their work cut out for them, thanks to Bill Clinton’s high-tax, anti-debt policies and the Fed’s obsession with the imaginary threat of excessive growth.

"If anyone doubted that the Clinton White House wages perpetual political warfare, Gene Sperling’s remarks yesterday on Good Morning America made it conclusive. For Sperling actually to accuse the Bush team of talking down the economy to make the case for tax rate cuts is cynical and irresponsible. It heightens market anxieties by demonstrating that the olive branch of peace offered by President-elect Bush is being scorned by Democratic partisans. What a shame. The truth is that tax rate cuts were needed last year when it was clear that the Fed intended to starve the economy of liquidity, and Bush-type cuts are needed now more than ever, not so much to give taxpayers relief, which they certainly deserve, but to keep the economy strong and keep revenues flowing into the treasury."