I just read Bill Clinton’s recent book entitled: “Back to work: Why we need smart government for a strong economy”.
This is an easy read featuring Bill Clinton’s ideas to turn America to the business of business, as Truman stated.
He said a strong government working hand in hand with a strong private sector will lead to economic growth and jobs creation.
Clinton, globe trotter in chief, invites Americans to “take off the blinders of antigovernment ideology and focus on what role government must play in America renewal”.
America was built by people who were idealists but not ideological, Clinton wrote. Idealists are open to evidence while ideologists make evidence,experience and argument irrelevant.
Clinton thinks the role of the government is to “give people tools and to create conditions to make the most out of their lives”.
Those tools and conditions include: national security, assistance, opportunity, economic development;
Clinton also wrote about the US debt crisis. He apologized himself to have left office with a balanced budget and a surplus.
When he took office in 1993, the debt was 49% GDP (Gross Domestic Product). By 2001, the debt has dropped to 33% GDP, and was projected to be eliminated completely by 2013.
Contrarily to those who plead in favor of cutting foreign aid to balance the budget, Bill Clinton said foreign aid is less than 1% of the US budget.
He also pointed out “too much of the money appropriated for foreign assistance, sometimes 50%, never reaches the nations or the people it’s designed to help, largely because it is channeled through US contractors who took a lot of it off the top for overheads and administration costs both in the US and the affected economy”.
Clinton’s prescription is to put America in the future .
He detailed his plan how to do that and to put ” a lot of people to work now”:
1.- Put as much of $ 4 trillion now held in the banks and corporate treasuries back into the economy as fast as we can;
2.- concentrate on areas most likely to create good jobs;
3.- pass Obama’s jobs act $ 250 billion in payroll tax;
4.- end the mortgage mess as quickly as possible;
5.- let people with government guaranteed mortgages who aren’t delinquent refinance their mortgages at the current low interest rate;
6.- the Federal Reserve should give banks an incentive to lend money;
7.- give corporations incentives to bring more money back to the U.S.;
8.- let companies repatriate the cash now with no tax liability it it’s reinvested to create new jobs;
9.- build a 21st century infrastructure;
10.- speed up the process for approving and completing infrastructure projects;
11.- launch an aggressive fifty state building retrofit energy initiative;
12.- states and localities should have their own retrofit energy initiative;
13.- get pension funds involved in investments:
14.- paint the roof to reduce energy consumption;
15.- re-instate the full tax credit for green technology jobs
As I said, I read Clinton’s book in a few hours. It’s very informative, technically driven, and economically results oriented. Which is good. But, it lacks some deep thoughts on leadership and philosophical issues on why we are here, and why America and global institutions are in decay morally. Which could have been great.
My next book will be Jim Collins’s “The choice to be great”.
Roosevelt Jean-Francois is a Business Radio/TV host, Fulbright Research Scholar, and the best selling author of Leadership sur le Vif. He teaches, consults, writes on global leadership issues.