Back to Work: Bill Clinton’s Three Steps to Employment Resuscitation
"I told President Obama I'm ready to fight alongside him until November," said former President Bill Clinton, as reported on Politico. With both men now on the campaign trail, it's fascinating to consider the kind of advice Clinton may be passing along during this historic election. Back to Work, Clinton's most recent book, is an excellent source describing his current political views, and it addresses some pertinent questions about our government today: What went wrong? Why does the country seem more divided than ever? And why do we need government, now more than ever? Clinton shares his wisdom, pulling from his own experience in the White House -- and from history -- to explain.
In 2008, Obama secured the White House with the promise of change. But by 2010, Americans saw government spending increase and felt a devastating scarcity of jobs. Although Obama, along with Congress, was doing his best to keep a major economic depression at bay, Republicans were delivering a strong message -- "less government, lower taxes, weaker regulations" is the path to recovery. It is a message that still resonates with Americans today.
The anti-government movement is by no means new, but it has enjoyed growing support, starting with President Reagan in the '80s. He successfully took the presidency by campaigning against government regulation, and promising to reduce taxes. The premise was that if you cut taxes, it would force cuts in domestic spending; when that didn't happen the money had to be borrowed, leading to a national debt that quadrupled from 1981-1992. When President Clinton took office, the economy boomed. Why? Many factors played into the economic boom of the '90s, but the biggest game changer was that for the first time in decades, government stepped in to balance the federal budget.
Today, depending on your source for news, you'll either hear that the economy is getting better, albeit at a slow rate, or you'll hear an outright denial of economic improvement, and claims that, in fact, the economy is getting worse. According to Clinton, to solve the challenges the U.S. faces today, Americans shouldn't be asking for less government, we should be asking for more.
What's the lesson to be learned from the last three decades, and how do we get people back in the workforce? We must first address the national debt, explains Clinton. To do so, three things need to happen: cut spending, raise taxes, and get the economy growing. Not radical ideas, but Clinton goes into detail about job creation and financial responsibility, plus he identifies the areas where he believes spending can be cut, offers strategies to raise revenue, and positively asserts how to get America "back in the future business." Back to Work is sharply written, concise, engaging, and optimistic — and just like Clinton's speeches, this book does not disappoint.