If you ignore inflation that’s a zero percent return (the BLS claims inflation was 38.5% 1998-2011). To actually break even vs. inflation since 1998 the S & P 500 would have to be about 1630.
The average price of gold in August 1998 was $285. Even adjusting for inflation, gold is up by more than 450%. Silver was $5.18 in August 1998.
The US National Debt was 5.5 Trillion in August 1998. It has since increased by 9 Trillion (160%) since then. That increase equals $29,000 per citizen. The unemployment rate was 4.4% in 1998, its stated rate is 9.1% today (of course, anyone paying the slightest bit of attention knows it is much higher).
Was it worth it?
Funny story: In 1999, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was projecting that the NATIONAL DEBT WOULD BE GONE BY 2012!!!!!
Along the way, somebody decided that NOT taxing the rich would be disatrous for the economy, so I guess this is their idea of “success.” Maybe failure is the new success.
I see nothing that will change the patterns presented here.