As they enter "The second year" (Cover Story, Jan. 24), President Clinton and his staff are gloating over their contribution to America's improved economic health. They point to lower interest rates and higher productivity as evidence of their deft management.
Unfortunately, this claim has the same credibility as George Bush's taking credit for the fall of the Soviet Union. Such accomplishments take a lot more time and pain than any Administration can achieve in four years--let alone one. Perhaps an examination of what they didn't do to screw things up might be more beneficial for his Administration's, and the economy's, long-term prospects.
Please allow me to offer a European footnote to your article. I think Bill Clinton (after a rather confused and unhappy first 100 days in office) has turned out to be a much better President than most Europeans (and, I suspect, Americans) ever thought he would be. Clinton has developed a pragmatic foreign policy, both politically (vis- -vis Europe, NATO, and Russia) and economically (NAFTA). But the second year will be crucial for his chances of getting reelected.
"Clintonomics II," i.e., a combination of competitiveness in the world economy and economic security at home, won't work because the two objectives are almost mutually exclusive.
Karl H. Pagac
In the cover portrait of Bill Clinton, is it my imagination, or do I see a stronger-than-normal resemblance to Jimmy Carter? An ominous portent?
Claire J. Davis
From the expression on his face, we can see the determination in the man who is destined to change the history of the world, whether we like it or not.