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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

America’s roiling debate over how to stimulate the ailing economy — and save the beleaguered middle class — will soon be joined by a familiar and authoritative voice. Former president Bill Clinton is now speaking out with increasing frequency and force, as he did last Friday at a Georgetown University conference on his administration’s stewardship of the longest and largest economic expansion in American history, and as he will continue to do in coming weeks with the publication of a new book titled “Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy,” to be published by Knopf on Nov. 8.

The conference at Clinton’s alma mater marked the 20th anniversary of a series of speeches he delivered there in 1991 as a newly minted presidential candidate, when he laid out a detailed agenda to renew American government after a dozen years of stagnation under the Reagan and Bush administrations. Its message, delivered by Clinton himself along with speakers including former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Gene Sperling, the chairman of President Obama’s National Economic Council, could scarcely have been clearer: Contrary to the Tea Party, government (and taxes) are not the problem but part of the solution; and the nation’s growing income inequality is a serious obstacle to growth and stability that must be addressed — by government.