The Spokesman-Review’s Aug. 24 editorial implied that divided government is bad. I disagree. The collegiality between House and Senate has disappeared, and it is dysfunctional. In my lifetime, I think that one of the most productive periods I witnessed, and in which the country’s economic condition was excellent, was the last six years of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Once the Republicans took the House and Senate, after the first two years of the dismal Clinton presidency, Clinton dumped Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen and got Robert Rubin, who was a Wall Street intimate. Welfare reform took place and the stock market and the economy had the best three years in my memory from 1997 to 1999. Clinton, who was pushed by his leftist base, was a moderate Democrat. He and Speaker Newt Gingrich’s House made compromises. All was good. He intervened in Bosnia and ended a genocide.
A similar situation arose in Ronald Reagan’s presidency, when the speaker was Democrat Tip O’Neill. Inflation was 10.8 percent when he took office, but his presidency had great economic growth. In President George W. Bush’s first term he did not veto one bill, and the Republicans became Democrats and spent madly.
Divided government seems to work better.