Mo’ Bitter Blues

One of the things that stuck in my mind about Barack Obama’s “bitter” statement was the fact that he used the statement to make some claims about the Clinton administration that were quite simply false. I meant to look for some references to the economy in Pennsylvania under the Clinton administration yesterday, but I got busy with managing my own economics and frankly, I forgot.

However, I wasn’t the only blogger thinking Obama’s gratitous slap against the Clinton administration was wrongminded. Larry Johnson of No Quarter lays it out on Taylor Marsh:

Poor Barack Obama. Someone kidnapped him during Bill Clinton’s term as President. Held him hostage in a dark room, cut off from the news. How else to explain Barack’s persistent and erroneous recounting of history? Maybe Uncle Jeremiah Wright had him tied to a pew. Barack’s statement about the root cause for the bitterness of small town Pennsylvanians–you know, folks who seek solace in guns, God, or immigrant bashing because they are pissed–blames the economic policies of George Bush and Bill Clinton. I can understand the George Bush reference. Our economy and Federal budget have been raped by W. But Clinton? That is just a damn lie.

Honest to God. Couldn’t this be further indication that Barack is using mind altering drugs? How else to explain a comment so out of touch with reality? Here are the facts. This is from a Clinton/Gore website in 2000:

EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL

  • Unemployment Down to 4.1%: The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania has declined from 7.3% to 4.1% since 1993.
  • 503,600 New Jobs: 503,600 new jobs have been created in Pennsylvania since 1993 — an average of 71,096 jobs per year. In contrast, an average of 500 jobs were lost each year under the previous administration.
  • 486,300 New Private Sector Jobs: Since 1993, 486,300 new private sector jobs have been created—an average of 68,654 jobs per year, compared to an average loss of 2,325 private sector jobs per year in the previous administration.
  • 43,600 New Construction Jobs: 43,600 construction jobs have been created in Pennsylvania since 1993 — an average of 6,155 jobs per year. In contrast, an average of 8,775 construction jobs were lost each year during the previous administration.
  • Poverty Has Fallen: Nationally, the poverty rate has fallen from 15.1% in 1993 to 12.7% in 1998. In Pennsylvania, the poverty rate has fallen from 13.2% in 1993 to 11.2% in 1998 –down 2.0% under President Clinton. [Census Bureau]
  • 450,000 Have Received a Raise: Approximately 193,000 Pennsylvania workers benefited from an increase in the minimum wage—from $4.25 to $4.75 — on October 1, 1996. They, along with about 257,000 others received an additional raise—from $4.75 to $5.15 — on September 1, 1997.
  • A $500 Child Tax Credit to Help Families Raising Children: To help make it easier for families to raise their children, the balanced budget included a $500 per-child tax credit for children under 17. Thanks to President Clinton, the Balanced Budget delivers a child tax credit to 1,185,000 families in Pennsylvania.
  • Homeownership Has Increased in Pennsylvania: Homeownership in Pennsylvania increased from 72.3% to 75.2% since 1993.
  • Business Failures Down 7.0% Per Year: Business failures have dropped an average of 7.0% per year since 1993, after increasing 30.8% per year during the previous four years. [Oct 98 data]
  • Over $25,000 of Reduced Federal Debt for Every Family of Four: The national debt will be $1.7 trillion lower in FY99 than projected in 1993 — that’s $25,000 less debt for each family of four in Pennsylvania this year.
  • 2.0% Growth in Total Bank Loans and Leases: Pennsylvania has seen a 2.0% average growth rate in total bank loans and leases per year since 1993. In contrast total bank loans and leases fell an average of 1.3% per year during the previous administration.
  • 1.1% Growth in Commercial and Industrial Loans and Leases: Since 1993, Pennsylvania has experienced a 1.1% annual growth rate in commercial and industrial loans and leases. In contrast, commercial and industrial loans and leases fell an average of 5.5% per year during the previous administration.

EXPANDING ACCESS TO EDUCATION

  • Nearly 29,000 Children in Head Start: 28,973 Pennsylvania children were enrolled in Head Start in 1999. In FY00, Pennsylvania will receive $183.8 million in Head Start funding, an increase of $82.1 million over 1993.
  • More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Classes for Pennsylvania’s Schools: Thanks to the Class Size Reduction Initiative, Pennsylvania received $51 million in 1999 to hire about 1,311 new, well-prepared public school teachers and reduce class size in the early grades. President Clinton secured funding for a second installment of the plan, giving Pennsylvania an additional $55.2 million in 2000.
  • $19.4 Million in Goals 2000 Funding: This year [FY00], Pennsylvania received $19.4 million in Goals 2000 funding. This money is used to raise academic achievement by raising academic standards, increasing parental and community involvement in education, expanding the use of computers and technology in classrooms, and supporting high-quality teacher professional development. [Education Department, 12/3/99]
  • $17.7 Million for Technology Literacy: This year [FY00], Pennsylvania received $17.7 million for the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, which helps communities and the private sector ensure that every student is equipped with the computer literacy skills needed for the 21st century.
  • $343.7 Million for Students Most in Need: Pennsylvania receives $343.7 million in Title I Grants (to Local Educational Agencies) providing extra help in the basics for students most in need, particularly communities and schools with high concentrations of children in low-income families [FY00]. This includes $5.8 million in accountability grants, to help states and school districts turn around the worst performing schools and hold them accountable for results.
  • $296.1 Million in Pell Grants: This year [FY00], Pennsylvania will receive $296.1 million in Pell Grants for low-income students going to college, benefiting 147,757 Pennsylvania students.
  • Expanded Work-Study To Help More Students Work Their Way Through College: The FY00 budget includes a significant expansion of the Federal Work Study program. Pennsylvania will receive $51.6 million in Work-Study funding in 2000 to help Pennsylvania students work their way through college.
  • Over 5,800 Have Served in Pennsylvania through AmeriCorps: Since the National Service program began in 1993, 5,836 AmeriCorps participants have earned money for college while working in Pennsylvania’s schools, hospitals, neighborhoods or parks. [through 2/00]
  • Tuition Tax Credits in Balanced Budget Open the Doors of College and Promote Lifelong Learning: The balanced budget included both President Clinton’s $1,500 HOPE Scholarship to help make the first two years of college as universal as a high school diploma and a Lifetime Learning Tax Credit for college juniors, seniors, graduate students and working Americans pursuing lifelong learning to upgrade their skills. This 20% tax credit will be applied to the first $5,000 of tuition and fees through 2002 and to the first $10,000 thereafter. 213,000 students in Pennsylvania will receive a HOPE Scholarship tax credit of up to $1,500. 259,000 students in Pennsylvania will receive the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. [fully phased-in FY2000 estimate]
  • Expanded Job Training to Pennsylvania’s Dislocated Workers: Thanks to President Clinton, the FY99 budget includes a significant expansion in the dislocated worker program. Pennsylvania will receive $46.8 million in 1999 to help 27,740 of Pennsylvania’s dislocated workers get the training and reemployment services they need to return to work as quickly as possible.

FIGHTING CRIME AND VIOLENCE

  • Crime Falls in Pittsburgh: Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, America has experienced the longest continuous drop in crime on record. Between 1992 and 1997, serious crime, as indicated by the crime index, has fallen 33% in Pittsburgh, with robberies declining 48%. [1992 and 1997 Uniform Crime Reports]
  • Juvenile Arrests Down in Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania’s juvenile arrests have decreased 51% between 1992 and 1997, (as measured by the crime index), with Pennsylvania’s juvenile murder arrests dropping 79%. [FBI, Uniform Crime Report, 1992 and 1997]
  • 3,332 More Police: The President’s 1994 Crime Bill has funded 3,332 new police officers to date in communities across Pennsylvania. [through 1/00]
  • Reducing Crime with Drug Courts: Working to reduce drug-related crime in Pennsylvania, the Clinton Administration has awarded Drug Court grants to the communities of Philadelphia and West Chester. The Administration had previously awarded grants to a number of Pennsylvania communities including: Williamsport, Erie and York. Drug courts use the coercive power of the criminal justice system to combine drug testing, sanctions, supervision and treatment to push nonviolent, drug-abusing offenders to stop using drugs and committing crimes.
  • Over $26.8 Million to Combat Domestic Violence: Through the Violence Against Women Act, Pennsylvania has received over $26.8 million in federal funds since FY95 to establish more women’s shelters and bolster law enforcement, prosecution and victims’ services. And in October 1999, California University of Pennsylvania was awarded $250,000 to help address sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking on campus. [through FY99]
  • Over $2.6 Million in Grants for Battered Women and Children: In FY99, Pennsylvania received over $2.6 million in HHS’s Family Violence Prevention Program grants to assist women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
  • Nearly $18 Million to Keep Drugs & Violence Out of Pennsylvania’s Schools: Pennsylvania will receive $17.9 million in FY00 for the Safe & Drug Free Schools Program, which invests in school security and drug prevention programs.

MOVING PENNSYLVANIANS FROM WELFARE TO WORK

  • 300,250 Fewer People on Welfare: There are 300,250 fewer people on welfare in Pennsylvania now than there were at the beginning of 1993 — a 50% decrease. [through 6/99]
  • Child Support Collections Up 27%: Child support collections have increased by over $213 million—or 27% — in Pennsylvania since FY92. [through FY98]
  • Encouraging Responsible Choices—Preventing Teen Pregnancy in Pennsylvania: Since 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have supported innovative and promising teen pregnancy prevention strategies, with significant components of the strategy becoming law in the 1996 Personal Responsibility Act. The law requires unmarried minor parents to stay in school and live at home or in a supervised setting; encourages “second chance homes” to provide teen parents with the skills and support they need; and provides $50 million a year in new funding for state abstinence education activities. Efforts are making a difference, adolescent pregnancy rates and teen abortion rates are declining. And between 1991 and 1997, teen birth rates declined 20.5% in Pennsylvania.
  • $85.5 Million for Pennsylvania Welfare-to-Work: In 1998, Pennsylvania received $44.3 million in Federal welfare-to-work state formula grants (the state matched $22.1 million in funding), helping Pennsylvania welfare recipients get and keep jobs. In addition, in 1999 and 1998 a total of $19.1 million in competitive grants were awarded to Pennsylvania localities to support innovative welfare-to-work strategies. Part of the President’s comprehensive efforts to move recipients from welfare to work, this funding was included in the $3 billion welfare to work fund in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.
  • Helping People Get to Work: Through the Access to Jobs initiative, the Clinton-Gore Administration is working with communities across the country to design transportation solutions to help welfare recipients and other low-income workers get to and from work. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, and Johnsonburg have received a total of $2.6 million this year to fund innovative transit projects.

INVESTING IN PENNSYLVANIA’S HEALTH

  • Health Care for Over 81,700 Uninsured Children: In 1997, President Clinton passed the largest single investment in health care for children since 1965 — an unprecedented $24 billion over five years to cover as many as five million children throughout the nation. This investment guarantees the full range of benefits that children need to grow up strong and healthy. Two million children nationwide have health care coverage thanks to the President’s plan, including 81,758 in Pennsylvania. [HHS, Health Care Financing Administration, FY99 SCHIP enrollment data]
  • Helping Nearly 236,000 Pennsylvania Women and Children with WIC: The Clinton Administration is committed to full funding in the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In FY99, Pennsylvania received $133 million in total WIC grant funding, helping 235,972 women, infants and children in need receive health and food assistance. [through 8/99]
  • More Toddlers Are Being Immunized: As a result of the President’s 1993 Childhood Immunization Initiative, childhood immunization rates have reached an historic high. According to the CDC, 90% or more of America’s toddlers received the most critical doses of each of the routinely recommended vaccines in 1996, 1997, and again in 1998 —surpassing the President’s 1993 goal. In Pennsylvania in 1998, 97% of two-year olds received the vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis; 92% received the vaccine for polio; 94% received the vaccine for measles, and 97% received the vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae B, the bacteria causing a form of meningitis.
  • Funding for HIV/AIDS Assistance Programs: In FY 2000, Pennsylvania will receive over $9.3 million in Ryan White Title II formula grants. This funding provides people living with HIV and AIDS medical and support services. Also through the Ryan White Act, Pennsylvania will receive nearly $17.6 million for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), which help those without insurance obtain much needed prescription drugs. There has been a tenfold increase in ADAP funding in the last four years, up from $52 million in 1996 to $528 million in 2000. [HHS, Health Resources and Services Administration, 4/7/00]
  • Tobacco Plan Will Cut Smoking and Premature Deaths by 43% in Pennsylvania: The Clinton Administration’s tobacco proposal, combined with the recently enacted state tobacco settlements, will cut youth smoking and resulting premature deaths 43% in Pennsylvania by 2004. Between 2000 and 2004, 170,500 of Pennsylvania’s youth will be kept from smoking and 54,600 will be spared a premature tobacco-related death. [Treasury Dept., 2/99]
  • 6,160,000 Americans in Pennsylvania Cannot Be Assured They Have Patient Protections: Even if Pennsylvania enacted all the protections in the Patients’ Bill of Rights, 6,160,000 people in Pennsylvania cannot be assured they have the comprehensive patient protections recommended by the President’s Advisory Commission. This is because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) may preempt state-enacted protections. That is why the President has called on Congress to pass a federally enforceable patients’ bill of rights so that everyone enrolled in managed care may have a basic set of protections. Notably, 3,120,000 Pennsylvania women are in ERISA health plans and are therefore not necessarily protected. Women are particularly vulnerable without these protections because they are greater users of health care services, they make three-quarters of the health care decisions for their families, and they have specific health care needs addressed by a Patients’ Bill of Rights.

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

  • 46 Toxic Waste Sites Cleaned Up: Since 1993, the EPA has completed 46 Superfund toxic waste clean-ups in Pennsylvania – more than any other state in the nation. This is nearly four times the number of sites cleaned up under the previous two administrations combined. [through 3/1/00]
  • $24.4 Million in Safe Drinking Water Funding: This year [FY00], thanks to President Clinton, Pennsylvania will receive $24.4 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to provide low-interest loans to municipalities to build, improve, and prevent pollution of drinking water systems.
  • Revitalizing Brownfields Projects in Pennsylvania: As part of the Clinton-Gore Administration’s efforts to clean up Brownfields, the EPA has awarded grants to counties and communities in Pennsylvania—Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenixville, Ford City, Johnstown, Reading, and Northampton and Bucks Counties—for environmental clean-up and economic revitalization. These projects are intended to jump-start local clean-up efforts by providing funds to return unproductive, abandoned, contaminated urban properties to productive use.

SPEARHEADING URBAN RENEWAL EFFORTS

  • Revitalizing Pennsylvania’s Communities: Philadelphia was designated an Urban Empowerment Zone in 1994 and was awarded $79 million to create more jobs, housing, and economic opportunity for its residents. As part of this designation, Sea Change Environmental Services, a north Philadelphia asbestos and lead removal company, was given a $100,000 loan in July, 1996 which it will use to buy equipment and hire workers to remove lead and asbestos at city-owned homes, Independence Mall and the Philadelphia Naval Base. Lock Haven, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg were awarded $3 million each to pursue similar job creation efforts. In 1999, Uniontown was designated a Rural Enterprise Community.
  • Expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Will Help Develop 5,500 To 6,600 New Affordable Housing Units in Pennsylvania Over the Next 5 Years: Last year, the President and Vice-President pushed for a 40-percent expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This year, the President and Vice President will try again to enact tax incentives to develop affordable housing. In Pennsylvania alone, this proposal would mean an additional 5,500 – 6,600 quality rental housing units for low-income American families in Pennsylvania during the next five years.

PROVIDING DISASTER RELIEF

  • $411.9 Million in Federal Emergency Assistance: Since 1993, Pennsylvania has received $411.9 million in disaster relief. This includes $36.5 for Hurricane Floyd in 1999; $3.7 million for severe storms and tornadoes in 1998; and $164 million in assistance to recover from severe flooding that occurred in January 1996. [FEMA, 2/29/00]

EXPANDING FUNDS FOR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT

  • Over $3.5 Billion in Federal Highway Aid: Since 1993, Pennsylvania has received over $3.5 billion in federal highway aid, including $71.1 million for emergency relief in response to natural disasters and $300,000 for scenic byways. These funds have helped generate over 151,376 jobs. [through FY99]
  • Over $404.5 Million in Aviation Funds: From FY93-FY99 Pennsylvania received over $404.5 million in Airport Improvement Program funds to help build and renovate airports, and, when necessary, to provide funds for noise abatement to improve the quality of life for residents who live near airports.
  • Nearly $2.1 Billion in Transit Funds: Pennsylvania has received nearly $2.1 billion in Federal Transit funds since 1993.
  • Saving Lives and Property: In 1999, the United States Coast Guard saved 18 lives and $3.4 million of property in Pennsylvania.

I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired and just a little “bitter” that Barack Obama keeps trying to re-write history on the Clinton administration. Frankly, I had it much better economically under Bill Clinton’s leadership and most of the people I know did too. But now, Barack Obama is playing to win and to do that, he needs to paint everything about Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton as bad news. But that’s wrong minded.

The Obamabots are screeching that Hillary is using right wing talking points against Obama in speaking out about his condescending statements made at the San Franciscon fundraisers. But what the hect do we call it when Barack Obama continually gets away with disparaging Bill Clinton’s accomplishments as president?

I’m with Larry Johnson on this one: “It is time for Democrats to call Barack on his bullshit.” People are bitter, alright… And Barack Obama is taking advantage of that:

He has embarked on a deliberate campaign to disparage the positive accomplishments of the Bill Clinton era. I know why? He’s scared to death that Americans will support Hillary if they think about what was actually accomplished while the press obsessed over Bill getting a blow job in the Oval Office. The American economy was in good shape and Americans prospered.

But Barack is trying to sell a lie. And that’s what it is. America’s middle class did pretty good under Bill Clinton. It is a Republican President and a Republican Congress who squandered the fruits of a balanced budget. That’s where the focus of ire ought to be if Barack were honest. But now we know. He is not honest. And lying about Bill Clinton’s economic record is flat out wrong.

Maybe people are waking up to the fraud: New poll shows Barack Obama tanking in Pennsylvania.

Stya tuned for Mo’ Bitter Blues…

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