Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obama, Bill Clinton, Larry Summers on U.S. Economy & Future



At one of the last plenary sessions of the recent Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Manhattan, former President Bill Clinton said that wealthy countries must not learn the wrong lessons from the current financial crisis. He recommended that we "fix" the problem while, at the same time, we do not fail to understand the problem. As for the work that he and so many others are doing at the annual Global Initiative meetings, he offered great confidence in that which they are, as a group, trying to accomplish for all people by making money "the old-fashioned way", indicating an honest and straightforward attempt to create and invest in new markets where there once were none in order to shape a far more sustainable world. He assured this group that he surely did not see them or their committed work as "the problem".

Former Harvard president Larry Summers, who attended the CGI meeting last week, seemed to have reiterated President Clinton's warning about the overall problem on Wall Street being misunderstood in a September 28 Financial Times op-ed:
The idea seems to have taken hold in recent days that because of the unfortunate need to bail out the financial sector, the nation will have to scale back its aspirations in other areas such as healthcare, energy, education and tax relief. This is more wrong than right. We have here the unusual case where economic analysis actually suggests that dismal conclusions are unwarranted and the events of the last weeks suggest that for the near term, government should do more, not less.



Lawrence Summers
2008 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting
New York
September 25, 2008
photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell


Seeing the need for legislation that would provide the quickest and strongest budget impacts at this moment in precious time, Dr. Summers recommends:

The best measures would be those that represent short-run investments that will pay back to the government over time or those that are packaged with longer-term actions to improve the budget. Examples would include investments in healthcare restructuring or steps to enable states and localities to accelerate, or at least not slow down, their investments.

A time when confidence is lagging in the household, financial and business sectors is not a time for government to step back. Well-designed policies are essential to support the economy and given the seriousness of healthcare, energy, education and inequality issues, can make a longer-term contribution as well.


This is a necessary time for the greatest leadership to shine through. I was disappointed in both Presidential candidates in last Friday's debate because they seemed to be mired in the small details. A great leader will not simply say what the people believe they need to hear or become caught in the trap of the political minutiae, but will rise above the trifling temporal restraint of the looming national election and escape the constraint of the smallest details to reassure the American public that these may not be our best days, but the possibility of a better day with honest limits to leadership and more realistic global interdependence and cooperation in a more innovative atmosphere with the creation of new career opportunities and a sustainable and peaceful world is an exciting possibility.

I heard Barack Obama speak toward this vision for the future at the CGI meeting on September 25th and I wish the audience that watched the debate the next night could have heard it.

Here's my own video of Senator Obama speaking about his vision for America's future at the CGI meeting.




6 comments:

MrWondrous said...

" A great leader will not simply say what the people believe they need to hear or become caught in the trap of the political minutiae, but will rise above the trifling temporal restraint of the looming national election and escape the constraint of the smallest details to reassure the American public that these may not be our best days, but the possibility of a better day with honest limits to leadership and more realistic global interdependence and cooperation in a more innovative atmosphere with the creation of new career opportunities and a sustainable and peaceful world is an exciting possibility." I like that. If you add one word to that great sentence, it would be 100 words. Did you mean to understate?
Is Bill Loving Life?

Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

Word up, mrwondrous. In this case, word up 99! Bill looked to be loving life to me...and saying awfully nice things about Obama despite the recent satire and gossip in the media that would suggest otherwise.

Robin said...

Hey Jude, here's my question.. Obama said in the video that prosperity starts from the bottom up. Can you describe why he is voting for the bailout then? This seems to be a top down enterprise.

Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

I'm not here to specifically electioneer for Barack Obama, but I will say that I think we'll only have more difficulty in attempting to achieve ANY change in the way our government creates the environment for more equal economic opportunity if commerce slows to a near-halt. I think we have to look at the big picture right now - the future - and not parse the politics. Any person striving to lead America would not do well to shy away from beginning to solve this financial crisis with determination to put us on a new path here and now. There are so many wrongdoers that we don't have time to make examples of each one before we right the ship that has become the Wall Street Titanic. The American taxpayer is going to wind up footing the bill either way. Something must be done to stabilize the markets now... deal with the politics later...election or no election...let the chips fall where they may. That's my opinion.

Robin said...

Thanks Jude for your comments. I'm a wandering Democrat who has registered as an Independent.. I think your right, the big picture is what needs to be seen right now..I know our investments are way down, and interest is harder to get for business. To be honest.. I don't care for either of the candidates.. wish they would bring back Bill Clinton!

Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

If only, Robin ;)
I don't think you're alone.
I was in a bagel shop this past weekend to get my everything with cream cheese and scallions and the young man behind the counter tells me he won't vote. I ask why and he complains that he doesn't care for either candidate. I tell him I think he should get to the polls and vote anyhow. He's just as responsible as the next man (or woman). You see, it isn't about personality. It can't be. It has to be about the issues. If it was solely personality-based, I wouldn't vote for anyone because, Number One, I supported John Edwards (and look how that turned out). Number Two, I still feel the knife in the back when I look at Obama and think of how his ruthless campaign treated both Bill and Hillary as racists. That was such bullshit, pardon the expression. I think his campaign were real shits for some of the things they did and said during the primary. Yet, I know that Obama is a smart (and cunning) and, for a lot of people nationally and internationally, he's a seductive and persuasive candidate. Somehow the lure...the mystique of Obama is lost on me. I think, right now, he's trying to be everything to everyone...and I know, from so many years of following politics, how that usually turns out. There are no saints or perfect people in politics. No messiahs. But I think he'll lead well. We'll need a persuasive leader to get us out of economic danger. Like the typical middle-aged American, I have a 401K...a pension..a kid in school. A lot of people subscribed to a financial system that robbed us blind. They need to fix it now and not lay back later on and let the worst of the perpetrators go free. Problem is, the Republican majority has sat with their thumbs up their asses for eight years and watched as the whole thing fell apart. And they think we'll reward them by voting Republican this time? They'd best think again, if you ask me.