Last Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, former president Bill Clinton gave a 48-minute speech supporting the incumbent president, Barack Obama, as the Democratic nominee for the 2012 presidential election. Clinton’s speech was abounding with charm, charisma, and factual information. His convincing speech was arguably the highlight of the whole convention and played a large role in the post-convention bounce for the Democratic Party.
Among other political issues, Clinton’s comprehensive speech featured health care, economy, job creation, national debt, welfare, and bipartisanship. To support these issues, Clinton used several staggering examples and statistics. What’s even more staggering, nearly all of his “facts” could be supported.
Personally, I found his statistical example of job creation to be the most surprising. Clinton stated, “Since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 (million).”
Watch President Clinton on job creation here:
After hearing this statistical example, I decided to do some research, as we have been encouraged to embrace Freire’s philosophy of critical thinking. Indeed, Clinton’s numbers checked out. However, Clinton failed to mention, intentionally or unintentionally, the partisan control of Congress was completely different during those described years. In fact, the total years of Democratic occupancy in Congress was actually four years greater than the Republican presidential occupancy. By the numbers, Democrats have been the predominant congressional party for 32 years, Republicans only 10 years, and a split Congress for 12 years (including the current make-up and projected make-up of 2013).
One might also be surprised to find Republicans controlled Congress for the majority of the presidential term (Democrat, Bill Clinton) which catalyzed the largest increase of private sector jobs since 1961. Furthermore, Democrats were in control of Congress for at least part of the presidential term (Republican, George W. Bush) producing the lowest creation of private sector jobs since 1961.
Note: The intent of this blog is not to defend either party’s job creation superiority. I simply refer to this example to demonstrate the potential susceptibility of Americans to the superficial manipulation of statistics embedded within the political apparatus of BOTH parties. Finally, based on the contradicting statistics mentioned in this blog, I would like to pose the question: to whom should we attribute the success and failures of job creation?