The Clinton Presidency
Bill Clinton is remembered for the many accomplishments achieved during his two terms as president between the year 1993 and 2001. However, the terms were also marked by controversies that left their marks on President Clinton’s legacy. He made history as the 42nd president of the United States, with extensive reforms in the economy, healthcare, and education under his belt. Some of the setbacks include incarceration policies in the federal crime bill of 1994, devastating welfare reforms and destroying the manufacturing sector by signing trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On the economic front, Clinton set records with his policies called Clintonomics. During his eight years as president, the United States experienced an economic growth averaging 4 percent a year. At the time he took office in 1993, the country had deficits of 290 billion dollars. President Clinton’s administration achieved the unimaginable under projections of ballooning deficits; in 2003, the country had a surplus of 236 billion dollars (Tomasky). During Clinton’s tenure, the country’s unemployment rates also fell from 7 to 4 percent by the end of his presidency. Poverty rates also dropped by the most significant margins in thirty years. On the educational front, the Clinton administration doubled federal investment in education, improved access to technology, and made higher education more affordable.
Despite all the positives that President Clinton managed to achieve, his leadership was not without setbacks. One of the areas in which the former president failed is in fighting crime. He is famously known for the three strikes law in addition to prison sentences even for non-violent offenders (Tomasky). These policies led to mass incarceration, a fact that he later expressed regret for. Another area of failure for President Clinton is welfare reforms that allowed states to decide how funds would be allocated and eligibility of recipients. It is essential to realize that despite these failures, President Clinton still managed to make history in other areas.
Tomasky, Michael. Bill Clinton: The American Presidents Series: The 42nd President, 1993-2001. Macmillan, 2017.