by Captain Future
Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 04:46:59 AM EST
After his speech the other day opening a conference on Securing the Common Good, sponsored by the Center for American Progress, President Bill Clinton answered some questions from his audience--students at Georgetown University, where he spoke 15 years ago about his priorities in his upcoming campaign for the presidency.
I've put these remarks in the U.S. election context at my Dreaming Up Daily, but since what I say is mostly a repetition of what Jerome has said here and at Daily Kos, I thought I would simply share with you the relevant quotes, after the jump.
In his speech, Clinton talked about the problems of growing economic inequality in America, the problems of outsourcing, the massive national debt to countries like China and even Mexico, and solutions to these and other problems. He mentioned the Climate Crisis, which is one of the target areas of the Clinton Global Initiative.
In the question and answer period afterwards he said that even though he believed his policies aided the booming economy of the 90s, when the federal government erased its debt and created a budget surplus, and economic inequality declined, he noted that the engine of the private economy was the maturing of information technologies and their spread throughout the society and the world.
He said our economy needs a new source of good jobs and innovation. And he said what astonishingly few politicians are really talking about:
"So government policies can reduce inequality, but we also need new jobs that pay well. And the lay down, obvious, sitting here, slapping-us-in-the-face answer is to make a commitment to a clean, independent energy future. It will create millions of jobs, and many of them are not exportable."
He offered examples--and what he would do politically:
" I was in Denmark a couple of weeks ago. In the last few years their economy has increased by 50 percent. Their energy use during the same time frame increased by zero - nothing. They invested in conservation. They kept jobs. Their unemployment rate is about what ours is, but their wages are rising and inequality is going down because of a combination of new jobs and government policy.
Same thing happened in the U.K., the economy most like ours of all the European economies. They've had rising wages and declining inequality because they're going to beat their Kyoto targets by 50 percent and they created all these new jobs in doing that. So whether its biofuels, conservation, wind, solar - you name it - we are making a big, big mistake not getting after this big time, not only because of climate change and national security implications, but because that's where the jobs were. If I were here like I was 15 years ago as a candidate I would say to the American people, 'If you want to do this in a big way, vote for me; if you don't, find somebody else because this is all I'm going to work on till I get it figured out.' Because this is just a huge opportunity."