October 2016

Why I support Hillary Clinton - 2. The Economy

It's been pretty widely reported that the economy does better under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. That's been true for most of the past century, and the gap is quite wide and remarkable. The stark differences are evident via measures of economic growth, employment, periods in recession, the stock market, and several other metrics. This graphic gives the general picture:

Various analysts (such as PolitiFact and FactCheck.org) point out that the Princeton study this graphic comes from attributed the differences more to random factors (oil price changes, for instance) than to any particular policies attributable to the presidents. Also presidents are not entirely responsible for policy under their watch - yes they may set a general tone or trend, but congress is responsible for the budgets and changes in the tax code, the federal reserve is responsible for monetary policy, and of course businesses and economic policies in other nations are additional important factors. And yet this pattern has been pretty stable for a long period of time - and there are at least a few policy choices that Democratic presidents have managed to maintain in distinction to Republican ones (perhaps primarily the level of taxes on the wealthy). If a better economy is important to you and you were facing a generic Democrat versus a generic Republican for president, this pattern at least suggests voting for the Democrat would be the safer choice.

Why I support Hillary Clinton - 3. Trust

You've probably heard a lot of bad things about Hillary Clinton. So have I. A friend recently queried whether I really thought Hillary Clinton met our church's standard of "wise, honest and good" - here's how I answered:

"Wise clearly. Honest comparatively (check politifact for example). Good - well that is for all of us to judge for ourselves. I read her words or listen to her speak, and they very often seem to be engaging compassionately with others - the essence of 'love thy neighbor". She doesn't speak much of her faith but on factcheck.org there's a long article about her religious faith - they regularly attended church services all through the Arkansas and Washington years for example. Yes there are an awful lot of accusations about her out there. I apply the same standard to all news: throw out the ridiculous stuff (no, she does not smell of sulphur), and assume the worst half of the rest is either exaggerated or fabricated. When you look at all of it that definitely leaves a few flaws, but the worst of it is mainly that she is too defensive. If I put myself in her shoes I doubt I could have done much better given all that has happened."

On the subject of honesty, I think this chart based on Politifact analysis is the best comparison out there:

Yes, she's a politician and says a lot of things that people challenge. But only about a quarter of Hillary's challenged statements were found actually "mostly false" or worse; the only politician with this many challenged statements with a better rating by this measure was President Obama.