Bill Clinton Offers a Prescription for the U.S. Economy in NRF Speech

Bill Clinton How can we ease Americans' financial pain and help "return the nation to a "full employment economy"? That's a question with no easy answers, notes former President Bill Clinton -- but government and business leaders can start truly addressing the economic crisis by "building a world of shared prosperity and shared responsibility," he said during a speech at the National Retail Federation's annual convention in New York Monday.

In his speech, Clinton offered up some wide-ranging prescriptions for curing the nation's ailing economy, among them investing in new sectors for job growth -- for example, retrofitting buildings so that they're energy-efficient -- supporting high-end manufacturing in the U.S., lowering the tax rate for businesses so they can reinvest in job creation, and "accelerating the resolution of the mortgage crisis" by helping people who owe more on their homes than they're worth. One way would be to lower the principals on those loans to the value of the homes, he said.

Clinton counted a "highly unstable" global financial crisis and America's serious economic inequality issue -- "that's what Occupy Wall Street is all about: About 90% of the economic gains over the last decade went to the top 10%" -- as being among "the biggest problems with this world."

Change "begins in our minds and hearts," he said.

Still, while times remain tough, the economic picture is showing signs of improvement -- particularly for the retail industry, Clinton said. Last year, retail, which accounts for 25% of the nation's jobs, grew more than 5%, while the U.S. economy grew at about 2%, he noted. (The NRF forecasts retail growth of 3.4% this year.)

"Work Is at the Core of Human Dignity"

The 42nd president himself started his working life in the retail business, he told a packed room at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center.

At 13, Clinton convinced a grocery store owner to let him set up a comic book store in his shop. "I made about $100 bucks."

While a career in retail never panned out for the president, as a young man, "I never doubted that I could make a living," he said.

Today, the notion of financial security has been "shattered" for many Americans -- which cuts "to the core of people's sense of who they are," Clinton said. "Work is at the core of human dignity," he told the audience, paraphrasing the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

"We've got to get America back in the futures business," he said. In part, that means "reforming our education system to educate people for a lifetime."

The country should also invest in high-end manufacturing to jump-start the economy, he said. Clinton pointed to Corning Glass in upstate New York -- which manufactures worldwide, but also retains production stateside, as its research labs are here -- as a sound business model.

Patronizing local businesses is also important, he said, advocating for a fair tax rate for small business owners.

Clinton said he relishes shopping at small stores during the holiday season. This Christmas, he bought books for his daughter Chelsea and son-in-law at Argosy, a bookshop in Manhattan, he said.

But he was also "morose" about the closure of Borders bookstores, particularly the one in Chappaqua, N.Y., where he lives.

Retail, one big engine of the U.S. economy, "is healthy when there's a strong middle class," he said.

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Mike

FEDERALISM HAS BEEN DESTROYED BY LIBTARDS. Let it default and fade away we have 50 state govts to do the job and leave all the fed parasites unemployed. Win win! Got gold?

January 24 2012 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Libertarian

>>> "accelerating the resolution of the mortgage crisis" by helping people who owe more on their homes than they're worth. One way would be to lower the principals on those loans to the value of the homes, he said.

Yeah, it's just that easy. Wave the magic bond market wand and have all the debt disappear.

See, here's how it works: Banks lend money and create mortgages. Those mortgages are bundled into bonds and sold as investments to union and government pension funds, individual investors, mutual funds, annuities, etc. These are investments that responible people buy to prepare for their retirement years.

So, to "lower the principal" on those loans means the people who bought those investments get screwed out of all that money: they paid $500,000 for an asset that Bill Clinton wants to reduce to $250,000. That means grandma and grandpa will be moving back in with you, kids. And half of your inheritance was just stolen by the government, kind of like what they did to GM bondholders.

But it's the perfect left-wing solution: stupid, irresponsible, greedy people who bought more home than they should have get rewarded with "free" money stolen from the responsible, prudent people who put off instant gratification.

It's hard to believe this moron ran the country for eight years.

January 23 2012 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Libertarian

>>> "building a world of shared prosperity and shared responsibility,"

Why would I shoulder any responsibility if I can simply force everyone to share their prosperity with me?

Socialists never learn. They tried this before in a place called the Soviet Union, you may have heard of it. Of course, making the Utopian dream work meant a hundred million people had to die while the rest lived three generations in a tiny apartment but hey, why let history get in the way of another left-wing wet dream?

January 23 2012 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

MOFKER --------------- I think slick willy was on top of ( it ) he he he he ow monica oh oh oh!

January 23 2012 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Ya, pim p out interns, I, I, I, Did not have se x with that woman, ah ah ah..............

January 22 2012 at 2:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Fed res dollar printing has increased to keep up with US treasury's need for them as debt buyer of last resort. Euro is doing same for their debt but doesn't hold the luxury as world's res currency. Fed exports inflation to the world, Euro can't & WILL hyper inflate to ZERO. Europe WILL run to the dollar as others trade for gld/slvr. Even with a small demand increase gld/slvr price WILL rise outside the fed's ability to keep suppressed & dollar WILL start its final fall, world WILL panic & gld/slvr will BE the only reserve currency, again. World fiat system is collapsing & we face deep depression. Got Gold? China & India does, why's that you figure?

January 19 2012 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny & Shirley

Type into your browser "Bill Clinton's role in the mortgage crisis". It's a disgrace that there are people who would publish what he has to say. Another example of blind leading blind. Who else would want to listen to what he has to say. He is a parasite acumulating personal worldly wealth at the expense of the welfare of this and other nations of the world. He's a taker, not a giver! I was listening to c-span before he was elected to his first term. An 85 year old woman (born around 1907) called in and said, "Don't you people realize the reason for the Clinton's popularity is due to a decline in the morals of the American people". I thought, God bless that woman!

January 19 2012 at 10:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
luvtopleaze

My neighbor refinanced his house 3 times at higher valuations so that he could improve his house, buy a new car and send his children to school. Now he is crying that his house is worth less than his mortgage which is almost twice what he paid for it.

I on the other hand, lived within my means, did not buy a new car, fixed my own home and saved for my kids education. My home is almost paid for.

And now, Clinton wants to help my neighbor because he lived beyond his means. Why is my neighbor being rewarded ? If his loan is reduced, it is like he got his car and kids education for free.

Why is he being rewarded at my expense ?

January 19 2012 at 9:06 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
recoater

Democrats have a short memory Bill is the one that sent all our jobs overseas and paid corp to send them (quote from Bill -America will be a service econmey to the world) look how thats worked out Bill.

January 19 2012 at 8:50 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Richard Goebel

Give him a third term.

January 19 2012 at 8:41 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply