John pointed out an article in the New York Times magazine that looks in-depth at Obama’s economic plan and why it’s so difficult to classify as liberal or conservative.† The whole article is a great read, but this one passage caught my attention:
The second criticism is that Obamaís tax increases would send an already-weak economy into a tailspin. The problem with this argument is that itís been made before, fairly recently, and it proved to be spectacularly wrong. When Bill Clinton raised taxes on upper-income families in 1993, his supply-side critics insisted that he would ruin the economy. As we now know, Clinton presided over the longest economic expansion on record, the fastest income growth most workers had experienced in a generation and the disappearance of the federal-budget deficit. His successor, Bush, then did exactly what the supply-siders wanted, cutting upper-income tax rates, and the results were much worse. Economic growth wasnít quite as strong or nearly as widespread, and the deficit returned. At the very least, Clintonís increases did no discernible economic damage. Rubin, citing academic work on tax rates, made the case to me that rates under an Obama administration would not be nearly high enough to stifle innovation.
It probably isn’t the first time that admission was made, but it’s the clearest summary I’ve seen to date. In short, Clinton’s policies benefitted the entire economy, while Bush’s policies helped the wealthy at the expense of the economy as a whole.