The 40th US president Reagan and the 42nd president Clinton did play a pivotal role in shaping America into the nation it is today. As politicians, these two leaders implemented strict policies during their reign, termed ‘Clintonomics’ and ‘Reaganomics.’
According to a poll carried, it was noted that “Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton continue to be the most popular recent former heads of state for Americans” [Source]. Angus Reid Institute reported that “In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1 006 American adults, 38 percent of respondents think Reagan has been the best President of the United States of the past four decades, while a slightly smaller proportion (34%) chooses Bill Clinton”. This is evidence of how influential these iconic national leaders were in their leadership skills.
The common comparison between these two is linked to the economy and arguing who made the best moves that developed the American economy. Since Reagan ruled first before Clinton, Reaganomics laid the foundation on which Clintonomics developed, as some economists argued. A predecessor always has something to teach the successors, whether from their successes or failures.
It is reported that ‘Reagan enacted the largest tax cut in American history, the first since the administration of John F. Kennedy” [Source]. He created about 18 million jobs during the last six years of his reign. Such economic moves inspired surrounding nations that also sought a reduction in tax rates.
Reaganomics was a manual which was read by former US President Donald Trump, who posited that a cut in taxes for rich Americans was going to boost their economy, but analysts had projected that a failure in Trump’s plan was going to plunge the country into a $5,3 trillion debt [Source]. And given Biden’s views of Trump’s contribution to America’s debt, it shows that the Reagan model did not work for Trump.
Clinton, unlike Reagan, “enacted the largest tax increase in American history. For the first two years of his presidency, he increased spending in all areas of the government except defense”. It took the authority of a Republican Congress to restrain him from spending too much. The Whitehouse archives described Clinton’s presidency as “A Historic Era of Progress and Prosperity [Source], and his achievements are that he created more than 22 million jobs, enacted the longest economic expansion in American history, brought the highest homeownership in American history, and lowest unemployment in 30 years.
When it comes to judicial appointments, the Hill noted that “Reagan appointed strict-constructionist judges and put the brakes on a judiciary that threatened to usurp the legitimate functions of the executive and legislature, the two elected branches of the federal government,” and Clinton “preached moderation but did nothing to reduce the number of abortions. His appointments to the federal bench all sought to increase the power of the unelected judiciary to impose social policy on the American public.”
Reagan is accredited for rebuilding the Defense and Foreign Policy army, which was in bad shape because his predecessor Jimmy Carter neglected this department. His prowess of combining the military, economic moves, and diplomatic engagement aided him in overcoming Soviet communism and ending “the great totalitarian threat of the 20th century, all without firing a shot”. On the other hand, Clinton showed little interest in reforming the military after he was given a peace dividend with the ending of the Cold War. He is remembered for scaring away terrorists by bombing certain buildings belonging to terrorist groups in Sudan.