Filed Under:

President Clinton: 'There's Very Little Talk About What Actually Works'

Play associated audio

As he listens to the current debate in Washington over the budget deficit, taxes and economic policy, former President Bill Clinton says the discussion lacks a lot.

"It's all about 'is the government good or bad or taxes always good or bad?' " he told Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep during an conversation that's scheduled to air Tuesday. "There's very little talk about what actually works."

That's why Clinton has a new book — Back to Work — with this subtitle: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy.

It's a book, as USA Today writes, with "a few dozen ideas ... about ways large and small to get unemployed Americans back to work — from granting property tax breaks for investments that create jobs to painting every flat tar roof in U.S. cities white for the energy savings."

The Washington Post says that Clinton also writes in the book that the Democrat in the White House now, President Obama, has made at least two mistakes in recent years.

"First," the Post says, "was not raising the federal debt ceiling in the first two years of the president's term, when Democrats still had a majority in Congress, and then failing to devise an effective national campaign message during the midterm elections of 2010. Clinton also suggests, obliquely, that Obama's criticism of Wall Street has been too harsh and counterproductive."

The former president told Steve that Republicans have been very effective at pinning the "tax and spend liberal" label on Obama — just as they did to him.

"They're good — the other guys," Clinton said. "The Republicans are good. They're good at this. They're good at labeling you. What I would say to you is I think he [Obama] has presented balanced plans."

Much more from Steve's conversation with Clinton is due on tomorrow's broadcast. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, we'll add the as-aired version of the interview to the top of this post.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Opulent And Apolitical: The Art Of The Met's Islamic Galleries

Navina Haidar, an Islamic art curator at the Met, says she isn't interested in ideology: "The only place where we allow ourselves any passion is in the artistic joy ... of something that's beautiful."
NPR

Wanted: More Bulls With No Horns

Most U.S. dairy cows are born with horns, but most farms remove them. Animal welfare groups say dehorning is cruel. Instead, they want ranchers to breed more hornless cattle into their herds.
NPR

Oil Prices Tumble Again, Hurting Drillers But Helping Drivers

Oil prices are falling, down sharply since mid-June to just over $45 a barrel. That has affected gasoline prices, now down to an average of $2.65 a gallon, about 85 cents less than a year ago.
NPR

Author: Tech Firms' Rhetoric Outpaces The Actual Good They Do

Author Kentaro Toyama says despite tech firms' good intentions, using technology to solve social problems falls short. NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Toyama about his new book.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.