Clinton inherited a $290 billion deficit from George H.W. Bush. He reversed Bush's and Reagan's trickle down economic policies, raising taxes on the wealthy, and reducing them on the working and middle classes. He was able to reduce the deficit every single year of his presidency. By 1997, the government was running budgetary surpluses, the first since 1969. He delivered a $230 billion surplus in 2000.
Bush reversed Clinton's policies, lowering taxes on the very wealthy - his "base" as he called them - and effectively raising them on everyone else. In his first full year at the helm of the economy, he delivered a $157 billion deficit, and he never looked back. By 2004, the deficits were topping $400 billion a year. While Clinton delivered surpluses, Bush's deficits totaled some $3.7 trillion over his eight-year term. Clinton 6: Bush 0.
There is no subtlety, no ambiguity about the data or the economic performance they reveal. By every single measure, Bush's policies and tenure were worse - much worse - for the American economy and the American people than those pursued by Bill Clinton. And we are still living today in the aftermath of the destruction they have wrought.
We could add any number of other measures as well, measures not offered up by Forbes but which are still straightforward indices of economic performance. Clinton reduced poverty, from 15.1% when he took office to 11.3% when he left. Bush increased it, from 11.3% when he started to 12.5% at the end of 2008.
The stock market more than tripled under Clinton's tenure. The Dow went from 3,241 when he took office to 10,587 on the day he left. It actually declined under Bush's tenure, from 10,587 on the day he took office to 8,281 on the day he left. Between the recent stock market collapse and the housing crash, Bush destroyed more than $14 trillion in consumer wealth, a staggering, almost incomprehensible legacy of devastation that will haunt Americans for decades to come.