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Friday, October 21, 2016

Clinton: Pass Obama’s Job Bill (And Of Course I’ll Pay The ‘Millionaires Tax’)

Nothing excites Republicans more these days than to draw contrasts — and foment dissension — between President Obama and former president Bill Clinton, his most recent Democratic predecessor. Much as the Republican right despised Clinton when he was in the White House, they pretend to yearn for him today.

The political media delight in the same game, which is why so many news outlets seized on Clinton’s remarks in an exclusive interview on Wednesday with the conservative Newsmax website that seemed to put him at odds with Obama’s policies — especially at a moment when the stock market fell steeply again and economic confidence appears to be ebbing.

“I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending until we get this economy off the ground,” Clinton told Newsmax Editor-in-Chief Christopher Ruddy last Wednesday. The resulting headline — “Ex-President Clinton to Newsmax: Raising Taxes Won’t Work” — was accurate when compared with the headlines that swiftly followed in other media, which suggested that Clinton had “rejected” Obama’s proposed tax on millionaires and “undercut” the president. The Republican National Committee distributed the Newsmax interview in a press release, asking “Is Clinton off script or tired of using this White House’s talking points?”

Responding to those jibes on Thursday at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, the former president said, “I don’t disagree with President Obama, and he doesn’t disagree with me, because he isn’t proposing to raise taxes now. But I understand why there was some confusion about what I said, because we’re discussing how to stimulate the economy and how to reduce the deficit at the same time.”

As Clinton explained, he has long supported raising taxes on those who, like him, can well afford to pay more. He noted bluntly that “a lot of the stories I read today said that I disagreed with [Obama], that I wasn’t for [raising taxes] now. He’s not for doing it now. His proposal is for triggering this [tax increase] in 2013 and going forward.”

Over the years since he became a multi-millionaire, Clinton has often urged the restoration of the higher tax levels on the wealthy that he passed during his first year as president (which didn’t seem to hinder the vast growth and investment during his administration). On Thursday, he noted that “those of us in the very highest income groups, the top 1 percent of the American people, got more than 40 percent of the income gains of the past decade. We got a huge chunk of the tax cuts. We did just fine, people in my income group, under the [tax] system that prevailed when I was president. So, in some form or fashion we’re going to have to pay a little more. Not because it’s class warfare, but because we got most of the gains of the last decade, we got the benefit of most of the tax cuts, and we’re in the best position to make this contribution.”

President Obama, said Clinton, “doesn’t propose to raise any taxes until 2013, or to cut any more spending until 2013, because we need to get economic growth going again. I completely agree with that. I’m for a long-term plan to reduce the debt that triggers when we’ve got normal growth, which is now estimated to be some time in 2013. And between now and then we ought to do everything we can to get the economy going again.”

Indeed, Clinton’s approach to both taxes and spending is entirely in keeping not only with Obama’s plan but with the Keynesian approach that Republicans and conservatives dismiss. He believes that the original 2009 stimulus “was good for the country,” but that the continued downturn has proved that it wasn’t sufficient to fill the gap caused by the financial crash.

As for the “millionaire” tax proposed by Obama this week, “I’m fine with that,” he said, “but what we need to do is calibrate it so that both [increased taxes] and spending reductions are taking place in an atmosphere of economic growth — so that private sector growth will more than offset public sector reductions.”

His support for Obama’s jobs bill could not be plainer, as he reiterated on Thursday when he described the plan as “well-conceived” and quoted Republican economists who say that the jobs program will promote higher GDP and “give us between a million and two million more jobs than we would have otherwise.”

But he went still further: “There are other countries… doing things better than we are now, including providing more broad-based economic growth and lower unemployment — and without exception, they have public-private cooperation. They have the government and private sector working together.” What will not work, he said, is the ideological approach of the far right, as represented by the Republicans’ Tea Party wing.

As he bid farewell to dozens of heads of state, corporate leaders and nonprofit entrepreneurs attending his global meeting, Clinton warned: “The vision that the Tea Party’s articulating — of the weakest possible government where there’s no such thing as a good tax or a bad tax cut, no such thing as a good regulation or a bad deregulation, no such thing as a good program or a bad program cut — there’s not a single place on the planet where that [approach] is giving birth to a modern, successful, broad-based economy.”

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Copyright 2011 The National Memo
  • mary smallwood

    It is about time Democrats support Obama!!! The lack luster halfhearted support given him in the last few months by Democrats leaves much to be desired. If Obama loses, all of the Democrats and Republicans lose. This country can not afford Republican rule now. They got us into this mess and 8 more Republican Bush type Presidential years will kill this country. I have never seen such nastiness without a hint of productive engagement-just nastiness. It is so hard to believe these sre grown ups. No wonder our kids act like they do. The grown ups give them no good example to follow. Thanks Bill Clinton. You and Hillary HAVE given us an example to follow. Now let’s see the rest of the Democrats show some real support.

  • SteveHanken

    Why wouldn’t Clinton support Obamanations jobs bill, it is paid for out of “payroll taxes” code name for Social Security. Taxing the rich? Well, you have to get it through Congress, and that has about as much chance as a snowballs chances in Hell, no problemo, it will never happen. Time for a third party that represents the people, the real people of this country, not the gated communities and those who actually live in the Hamptons, while their staff of “real people” is ferried in every day. As to supporting either Republicans or Democrats,Mary, have you at least looked at the distructive policies both parties brought to bear? Or the half hearted attempts to say, “We tried, but couldn’t get it through”, like Clinton on health care, and that pissy piece of crap Obama got through that will be trashed even before it goes into play. ( the one where he waited on the Republicans to chime in and gave them 60 amendments and got not one vote from them for all that wasted effort with a majority in both houses and control of the White House) Who are you kidding? Both of the parties are the front and flip side of the same record. We need a new song and a new record all together! Not Nader or Ron Paul, but someone completely fresh who intends to support the working stiffs in this country for a change, a real change not small change.


    I guess he just can’t keep his mouth shut and his face out of the camera. His signing of Glass Stegal is a big reason we are in this mess now. He really ought to stay out of commenting every day or at all because he is just narcissistic thorn in President Obama’s side !!!!!!

  • peteserb

    The only reason the conservatives miss Clinton is because his scandals were more interesting. Obama’s scandals are more thug type than Bill’s sex scandals!

  • WayneD

    If a majority of democrats including Obama are not elected, we will suffer another four or maybe eight years of the disgraceful republicans and tea party we have now.

  • Alan Snipes

    President Clinton has been extremely supportive of the Obama administration (of course, it helps that Hillary is in it), but he has always been supportive on issues when it is Demcrats against Republicans. He is being a good soldier, despite his critics who said that if Hillary were part of the Obama administration that he would be trouble. Clinton’s critics, both within the Democratic party and out are wrong again!

  • Linda Hardiman

    Yes, it makes me glad to know the Clintons have supported President Obama ever since he’s been in office. But where is our support as Americans? While we are a very opinionated people, I am convinced that we allow the media to sway the way we look at circumstances and issues. We get so caught up in the news that we have no legitimate thoughts of our own, but if we do have something to say, it’s based on what the media has said and not what we really want to say, think about it! When President Obama was elected, we were so enamored with the fact the we had elected the first black President of the United States and yes, this is truly a historical benchmark that will last till the end of time. However, he wasn’t given an instruction manual on how to be the President, this means he’s not perfect and mistakes will and have been made. For the most part, he has had to play a lot of this new field by ear as he has had to follow rules and procedures, too. Not to mention the problems that have come up on him, unexpectedly. However, he hit the ground running and has been doing it ever since. First of all, we must understand President Obama is a man, a human being just like you and me; while he is the most powerful man in this country, he is not a magician! He has to request Congress do certain things for the people in order to keep this country running properly. He expects Congress to do their job for the people. I think Congress is confused when it comes to who put them in office. Congress was put in office to represent the people of its states; to ensure that what the people needed it would be done. Obviously, they’ve forgotten their role as representatives of the people. It seems to me it’s all about power, money and what’s in it for them; and their constituents are history. Then we have the “Tea Party” who are a group of people, in my opinion, who are totally confused about the issues this country is dealing with. They are not understanding how their requests will affect them, in a negative way later. The Republican party is letting this group dictate to them the direction they should go, which shows me this party cannot be trusted to make solid decisions that will catapult the American people to a brighter future. Please understand that no party is perfect and I realize that what I am saying, you may not agree, but that’s okay, everyone has their own opinion. The Democrats, on the other hand, while there are some who are not supportive of what Obama is doing, there are the majority who do. The President told us that it would take the economy a while to recover and he even intimated it would not be in this term or possibly the next, but the economy would recover. He asked us to be patient and to support him in this–the time factor. He has been trying to keep his word from that day forward; he is for the American people. I haven’t seen such dedication in any other President. I have noticed some very disturbing events since he’s been in office: The Republicans and the “Tea Party” (and for you Republicans it’s nothing personal, but it must be said) have fought this man tooth and nail about the policies he felt would benefit the American people. Anything that would or could make Obama look bad, it was initiated. Why? Is this still a black and white issue? Of course, you’ll say it’s not, but deep down you resent having a black man in the White House! Why is it that we can’t see past one’s color? What does that have to do with one’s qualifications? What has he done to you to make you hate him so? Think about that! God had a reason for making different colors, such as the rainbow—it is a beautiful display of hues that come together portraying a spectrum of pure radiance and colorful variety. Such are the people of America. Seeing one color all the time, would be totally boring and monotonous. Thank God for variety!!! I think if we could see that color is a God-given gift, and we, as a people love variety (variety is the spice of life), we would appreciate what we have, instead of hating and degrading it. The bottom line is this: we as Americans need to support President Obama and really listen to what he is saying and stop taking the media at their word. This is what they do–they get paid to report. We really need to look at our so-called representatives in Congress and decide for ourselves if they should serve another term in office. Congress and the “Tea Party” are what’s holding the country up, not the President. And we also need to remember what party got our economy in this fix in the first place. We didn’t have this problem when Clinton is was office. So, how did we really get to this point? After you really think about it, then think about what President Obama is trying to do for our country, which is his, too. He’s got children, also and wants the best for his kids like we do for ours. We need to keep this man in office, because if we don’t, as discombobulated and uncertain as the Republicans and the “Tea Party” are at this juncture, we haven’t begun to see disaster. I want to see this country move ahead, and I hope you do, as well. President Obama needs our support; he’s got my support and my vote, too. What about you?

  • kanawah

    The RepubliCONs and the Transylvania tea party are 100% responsible for the mess we are in. They and the far right members of the media are trying to blame Obama and the democrats for it. The RepubliCONs, starting with Reagan, have destroyed as much of the regulatory structure that they can. What they could not destroy, they have put the worst of those who were to be regulated in charge of the regulatory process.

    That is why Wall Street went to hell in a hand basket.

    Everything hat Obama and the democrats have tried to do to straighten out the economy and other parts of the mess has been obstructed by the RepubliCONs and the Transylvania tea party.

    If we do not throw the RepubliCONs and the Transylvania tea party completely out of Washington in 2012, by 2024, the United States will be a third world oligarchy with ‘strong theocratic overtones’.

    Pay attention to what the right is DOING not to what they and their far right media friends say they are doing.

  • Indy 60

    Seems the media loves to have discord – at least then they have something exciting to write about! They’ve tried to cause discord in the Republican Party, now, they’ve turned to the Democratic Party. Whatever makes news – no matter how true or untrue – just get someone to read it. Glad to see there’s somewhere we can turn for the truth! Also, glad to see Clinton hasn’t turned conservative!

  • Newborn

    Of course it’s a good thing to be reassured that Bill Clinton supports Obama’s plans. But we have to admit that Obama’s been too much for negotiating with the Party of No. It’s may be in Obama’s genes (or education) but for many of us, lucid enough to see the sinister game by GOP & tea baggers, it’s frustrating not to see an intelligent and firm denunciation by the President of the extreme danger of Congress disfunction and systematic obstruction by his opponents.