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If Jeb wants 4 percent growth, he'll have to ask Bill Clinton how to do it

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"So many challenges could be overcome if we just get this economy growing at full strength," Jeb Bush observed in his presidential campaign kickoff speech, "there is not a reason in the world why we cannot grow at a rate of 4 percent a year."

Most economists would say that there are actually some fairly profound reasons why achieving such a rapid growth rate on a sustained basis is difficult. But if Jeb's not interested in dreary academic controversies, he might want to ask his brother George about this. The economy, you see, grew slower than 4 percent in 2001. It also did so in 2002. And in 2003. And in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

He also might want to phone up his dad, who served four years in the White House and never achieved 4 percent growth. You can also talk about this in job-creation terms, where Jeb's dad is the second-worst president to take office in the past 50 years, surpassed in unimpressiveness only by Jeb's brother.


There is, of course, one living president who achieved 4 percent growth in five out of his eight years in office — Bill Clinton. He'd probably be a good guy to speak to if you're interested in some ideas about how to achieve 4 percent growth. But I think his services as an adviser are already spoken for.