2. President Clinton Improved Education Across the Nation
President Clinton was also a president who chose to improve the education of American’s children, and between 1994 and 1999, spent more than two billion dollars to do this. His plan, Goals 2000: Educate America Act, had several points including the goal of ensuring all children will enter school ready to learn, and that there would be a 90 percent graduation rate across the country by the year 2000. Other goals of the act included providing educators the materials necessary to effectively teach their students and ensuring that students in the U.S. will lead the world in math and science. This act also puts a focus on battling adult illiteracy and that every school in the country would be free of drugs and violence.
Though some of these goals were not met by 2000, and some, such as U.S. students leading the world in science and math, are still not met, the act was seen as a success by political leaders on both sides of the aisle.
This was not the only education goal during the Clinton presidency, however. He also enacted the Improving America’s School Act in 1994. This act required that the accountability and standards in schools were the same across the board, and even disadvantaged students would have the same opportunities that other students have. This act was supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and in addition, received support from both the business and education communities.
1. President Clinton Brought the Economy Into the Black
When Bill Clinton was elected, the country was facing the largest budget deficit in U.S. history, which equated to $290 billion. By the time he left office, there was a budget surplus of $127 billion. There were more than 5 million new jobs created during the Clinton presidency, and unemployment dropped to 4 percent from the 7.5 percent unemployment rate that was in place when he took office. The 4 percent unemployment rate was the lowest it had been in three decades. Additionally, the poverty rate dropped to the lowest it had been since the late 1970s, and sat at 11.8 percent in 1999.
The economic success of President Clinton was likely his crowning achievement, and something that he will be remembered for in the decades to come. To create this surplus, Clinton took a number of steps, some of which were discussed throughout this article, including raising taxes on the rich, ending corporate subsidies and reformed the welfare system. In addition, Clinton was instrumental in passing the North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated tariffs when trading between countries. Both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush attempted a similar goal, but it wasn’t until Clinton got into office that the achievement was finally met. This agreement created millions of dollars for the U.S. budget, but critics also claim that it created a push for outsourcing and the mistreatment of farmers in Mexico.
It is difficult for people who didn’t like Bill Clinton to list too many of his faults, and though he certainly did not meet every goal he set for himself during his tenure as president, he left the country in much better shape than he received it in. It only took one new term for the next president to eliminate the economic surplus that Clinton created, but with more international conflict at hand, it was difficult not to spend money on the military.
Though Clinton is probably best known for his economic legacy, there was much more to the man than that. From improving the health and education of U.S. citizens to opening up new frontiers in space, the Bill Clinton legacy is one that will not be forgotten anytime soon. These achievements are also what makes him one of the most respected and highly regarded presidents of all time, even though his personal problems, such as infidelity, often got in the way of his political achievements. If there is one thing that Clinton taught us during his presidency, it is that what goes on behind closed doors doesn’t necessarily mean that one cannot be successful and well-remembered in the years to come.