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Jon Stewart: Extended Interview With Bill Clinton

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, current recession )

- 2511 days ago -
Discussion of how we got here and where we need to go. A very good interview with one of our best presidents.


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Barbara K (62)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 11:25 am
I think Clinton was one of our best presidents. He has a lot of knowledge, how refreshing after Bush, and I think he can teach Obama what he has learned. Not many presidents have had to deal with such a broken America as was handed to Obama who has to spend so much time trying to clean up the mess. When Bush sent multi-trillions of dollars out of the country as soon as Obama was elected, it was for one reason. To leave nothing for Obama to work with. I had heard it before, but now Bernie Sanders had the Federal Reserve audited and found it to be true. Bush & gang deliberately broke this country.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 11:37 am

I have, of course, already ordered his new book.

Penny C (17)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 11:55 am
In his weekend radio address, President Obama decried that "over the past three decades, the middle class has lost ground while the wealthiest few have become even wealthier." Although he was trying to leverage the Occupy Wall Street movement, the income gap has been a longstanding concern of his.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama said, "The project of the next president is figuring out how do you create bottom-up economic growth, as opposed to the trickle-down economic growth that George Bush has been so enamored with."

But it turns out that the rich actually got poorer under President Bush, and the income gap has been climbing under Obama.

What's more, the biggest increase in income inequality over the past three decades took place when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House.

The wealthiest 5% of U.S. households saw incomes fall 7% after inflation in Bush's eight years in office, according to an IBD analysis of Census Bureau data. A widely used household income inequality measure, the Gini index, was essentially flat over that span. Another inequality gauge, the Theil index, showed a decline.

In contrast, the Gini index rose slightly in Obama's first two years. Another Census measure of inequality shows it's climbed 5.7% since he took office.

Meanwhile, during Clinton's eight years, the wealthiest 5% of American households saw their incomes jump 45% vs. 26% under Reagan. The Gini index shot up 6.7% under Clinton, more than any other president since 1980.

To the extent that income inequality is a problem, it's not clear what can be done to resolve it. Among the contributing factors:

Economic growth. Strong economic growth, rising stock prices and household income inequality tend to go hand in hand.

Technology. Tech advances have put a premium on skilled labor, according to a Congressional Budget Office report . Because the pool of skilled workers hasn't grown as much as demand, their wages have climbed faster.

Free trade and immigration. Cheap labor abroad and an influx in low-skilled immigrants can depress wages at the bottom, according to the CBO.

Women in the workforce. As the CBO put it, "an increase in the earnings of women could boost inequality by raising the income of couples relative to that of households headed by single people."

Tax policy changes don't explain the widening income gap. The CBO found that, by one measure, "the federal tax system as a whole is about as progressive in 2007 as it was in 1979."

Kit B (276)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:14 pm

Most people that copy and paste from blogs and articles - though this from Penny is a blog, do give credit. What no individual thoughts? Or did ya think we would not know that was all copy and paste and BTW - incorrect data.

Norm C (74)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:19 pm
Sorry, to rain on the Clinton parade, but Bill was one of the WORST presidents since JFK. Let us not succumb to amnesia here, folks.

It was Clinton who pushed and signed NAFTA. It was Clinton who pushed and signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, and he promoted and signed the Commodity Modernization Act a year later. Clinton pushed and signed Welfare Deform. He also signed the Telecommunications Modernization Act that led to so much consolidation of the media. Clinton is the one who came up with DADT. He did nothing about Reagan's FCC rules that pushed campaign finance costs through the roof.

Yes, a lot of jobs were created during his time in the White House, a lot of temporary and low wage jobs (I know because I had three of them at once during his term). If you check out the graphs of how the incomes of the 1%, the .1% and the .01% shot up, you'll see that the greatest uninterrupted jump came during Clinton's second term. Yes, average wages moved up a little as well, but only a little and only during his last two years.

Remember, it was Clinton's picks as his advisors that then advised Pres. Obama to propose such an inadequate stimulus. It was Clinton's people who talked Obama into not leading on the healthcare legislation. It was Clinton's folks who supported the Wall Street bailouts. Bill Clinton is no progressive or 99%er or Occupier hero. He was merely the truly compassionate conservative, unlike his successor.

Just because Bill Clinton was a Democratic president does not give him any special insight into what the economy needs. Where was he 2 1/2 years ago with this advice? Remember, he was overheard talking to some right-wing clown and saying that he hoped that the Dems would hop onto the deficit hysteria train. No, if you want economic insight, read Dean Baker, Robert Reich, Robert Kuttner, Joseph Stiglitz, Richard Eskow, David Johnson, Paul Krugman (just not on trade) or Richard Wolff. Clinton is a little late jumping on this train.

No, when all the chips fall and history is written decades from now, Bill Clinton will go down as one of the worst US presidents to date.

Penny C (17)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:29 pm
LOL Kit.

Ralph R Sutton (56)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:36 pm
It was GHW Bush that negotiated NAFTA. Like all presidents before him, Clinton signed the final agreement as a continuation of the GHW Bush presidency. Those of us with a memory remember the economic boom in the Clinton years and the fact that he left GW Bush a budget surplus which Bu$h quickly gave to the 1%.

Republicans claim Democrats are the tax and spend party and that may be so, but Democrats are knowledgeable in their understanding of how the economy works know you have to pay for the spending. Republicans on the other hand are the spend, spend, spend party without any consideration for paying for all of their spending.

Norm C (74)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:37 pm
JFK was the last really good president we had; although he was far from wonderful in some respects. But he did grow in the job and was on the cusp of getting us out of Vietnam when he was assassinated. LBJ was great on domestic issues but screwed up completely on Vietnam. Nixon was a crook and his team committed treason when they sabotaged the Paris Peace Commission in 1968 along with Kissinger. Ford was a nothing and permitted Gen. Suharto to invade E Timor. Carter was a wonderful individual who was enamored of deregulation and signed many of the early deregulation bills that led to this mess. Reagan needs no critique here; he was the worst one of them all to that point and probably worse even than W in that he put the systemic risks in place through his complete cluelessness. Poppy Bush was one of the great sellouts of the modern presidency (he critiqued quite accurately Reagan's conservative economics as "Voodoo" when running against him in 1980 and then adopted it when in office). I've listed Clinton's folies above. W needs no critique from me. He was possibly worse than Reagan in that he compounded Reagan's ideological rigidity with corruption gone wild and backroom nastiness. Obama may have recently awakened from his Wall Street trance, but I would not count on it. His staff changes seem more like window dressing than anything substantive. I hate to say this, but we've heard nice words from him before. His only saving graces are his ability to turn on a crowd during campaign season and the complete stupidity of this Repugnacant opponents. Unfortunately, his positions do not speak well for him. He still has the wrong people on his economic team, he opposes the Financial Transactions Tax and my guess is that he will delay the Keystone XL decision until 2013 and then approve the pipeline.

I do not think he get it, even after last night's results.

Ralph R Sutton (56)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 12:39 pm
You want a Republican that was a good president? Try Eisenhower; he would be considered a liberal Democrat in today's politics.

Norm C (74)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 1:16 pm
Ralph, you are partially correct with respect to Clinton. Yes Poppy Bush negotiated NAFTA. But the Democrats in Congress turned it down during his presidency. Clinton revived it and forced enough Congressional Dems to vote for it. Without Clinton, NAFTA would not have gone through until W came along. It certainly would have then.

Yes, Clinton and Rubin did bring down the deficits, and they did produce a surplus in his last year (a real one that did not count on the Social Security Trust Fund to make the general fund look better). Yes, W, Cheney, Greenspan and the rest of the conservatives (including several Dems) screwed that up. But since when is a surplus the only important measure of a successful president? It is important now only because of the catastrophe that the other conservative presidents (from Reagan on) created by their military spending, tax cutting for the obscenely wealthy and borrowing idiocy.

Running a surplus or a balanced budget is not necessarily a good thing in normal times (whatever that may look like). Fiscal rectitude is no excuse for sending jobs offshore, killing manufacturing and encouraging the 1% to destroy the rest of us.

No matter all the inappropriate metaphors, the national budget is neither like a family's kitchen table nor a business' profit and loss or income statements. In fact it is almost the exact opposite when times get tough.

A president should be rated on what his/her policies promote over the years during and AFTER his/her presidency is over. Did a particular president's policies expand prosperity and economic strength? Did they enhance fairness and equality? Did they enhance the quality of life of the vast majority of citizens? Did they increase the sustainability of the natural world? Did they promote better relations with the rest of the world? Did they solve problems or create them? Were their reponses appropriate to the problems they faced? Clinton scores poorly on most of these criteria and downright terribly on the economic front when you look at the way his initiatives destroyed checks on the monopolization, financialization and deregulation of the economy and campaign spending.

While he was not as bad as W or Reagan, he was not a whole lot better. Comparing anyone to W or Reagan is an incredibly low measure. My late father, today, would make a better president than W or Reagan, just by reading his letters and acting on his advice (and Dad was "only" a Forest Ranger).

Norm C (74)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 1:26 pm

The top 1%, .1% and .01% did not get poorer under Bush. The bursting of the dot com bubble, W's talking down the economy in Dec 2000 and his theft of the 2000 election that caused so many people to stay at home watching the news on the many Bush lawsuits, the "Brooks Brothers" riots, etc., etc. caused a recession that only temporarily pushed their kleptomania down for a couple of years. The 1%ers and above quickly resumed their their destructive ways and appropriated all growth unto themselves.

Marco C (31)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 1:47 pm
Thank you Kit,
It was both delightful and refreshing to watch. I am relieved to finally hear some intelligent discourse in the media. Remarkable that we have to go the comedy channel to get it.

Terry King (113)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 4:20 pm
I agreed with Bill Clinton politically but he was and still an immoral old bastard! His infidelities and lack of candor were a slap in the face for his family and the country as a whole!

Laurie S (73)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 5:07 pm
Good stuff. Thanks!! :)

Carol H (229)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 5:40 pm
thanks Kit, noted. He is one of my favorite presidents!

Yvonne White (229)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 5:44 pm
Whether it's nostalga or reality, I FELT Safe & Happy while Clinton was President. Never worried about him accidentally or on purpose setting off nuclear missiles.. we made just enough money to send two boys to college.. I Never cared what he did in private with another consenting adult. I was Deeply Disgusted by what Bu$h the Le$$er did in broad daylight to the American public (and Iraq, etc.)!

. (0)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 6:55 pm
One of our greatest Presidents? History will slowly grind him to a powder. When the twin towers were first attacked, did he go to NYC, no. When he had a clear chance to take Bib-Laden out in the early 90's, did he? No. Historical record proves that he was at the Kentucky Derby, and did not want to be disturbed.
Aside from his oval office sex encounters, his Presidency afforded this country nothing in terms of economic growth, forget stability. He funded government programs that Reagan viewed as an economic disaster: food stamps for one.

Robert B (60)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 6:59 pm
Penny C., the income inequality rose steadily since 1982 and due to the banksters on Wall Street. Obama is not responsible for that. Don't try to hang that on him.
Under Reagan our debt rose 184% , under Bush 55% , it rose the least under Clinton and Obama.
The party of "let them eat cake" (GOP) is responsible for our worthless wars and the housing scam and practically ALL of our economic woes.

See the Documentary "INSIDE JOB" if you dare. to want to know the truth.

. (0)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 7:21 pm
I'm sorry, I just couldn't let this opportunity go by without adding a few more points about the Clinton Presidency: For 8 years the man had no economy recovery program. So much so, his wife had her own feeble program in place, that not even the Obama administration would endorse.
He let the conflict in Afghanistan escalate to the point that Bush has to pump millions to protect our interests and troops.He passed no environmental legislation. He supported social programs that today are costing us a fortune.
He gave no lasting stability to the Middle East, and gave no support to the starving throughout the world.
Somebody, please tell me why this man was so great?

Ralph R Sutton (56)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 8:40 pm
I was under the impression that you only implemented an economic recover program when the economy wasn't growing or was stagnate or in decline. I guess all that low unemployment was a smokescreen and we weren't really doing as good as we thought we were.

Yeah, let the poor starve; who needs riff-raff like that. I mean those dirty little kids would just grow up to be welfare drags on the middle class, cause you know the wealthy ain't gona chip in to help raise their standard of living so we would be much better off to just let them and their worthless parents die of starvation. Same goes for the elderly and the scum that can't afford health insurance, who needs 'em?

I'm shocked! I could have sworn GW was the one that started the war in Afghanistan. Boy, Clinton was a sneaky one, starting a war and not telling us about it. I mean look at all the stability GW created in his 8 years of unfunded wars in countries we had no business in and the trillion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy; now there is a president with blinders on as far as the economy is concerned.

Of all the presidents we've had in the last 30 years, I'll take Clinton. He wasn't perfect, but I could really care less about his private consenting affairs; that's between him and Hillary.

Allan, I really think you watch too much Fox news. I think it would do you a lot of good if you read Clinton's book, but only if you can do so with an open mind.

Kamila A (141)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 10:01 pm
Clinton has my admiration in spite of his many flaws. At least 'what you see is what you get' with him, but with Cheney & Bush, & all their cohorts, everything is veiled and worse, there is true murderous evil lurking just beneath their surface.
Our solace is knowing that their biggest lies, all of them at our cost, implode like the twin towers in the face of the smallest truth of what they really stand for, still to this day----but you need eyes to see, and ears to hear it. FOX viewers have lost theirs.
Just like that coach from Penn State who just got fired in spite of the fact that he was not directly involved, because he had known the truth and had not done anything because of the "name of school" which he wanted untarnished. He didn't care about the children, he cared about the name of the school. He still doesn't get it, and too bad, we do! The world does! Children are more important than reputations of a college.
Similarly, Clinton sincerely worked for the good of the country, foibles and all and he did a good job. The demons following him, W & Co. almost destroyed everything because they were defending........I don't even remember what for, but there was no real or good reason for anything they did (as if there ever could be). And even after their lies were found out, they stood their ground and felt justified for nearly ruining our world and killing countless people and destroying countless lives.
No, compared to them, Clinton is a prince.
Sit down all you naysayers, you are all misled and all you see is the little splinter in someone else while the beam is in your own eye. That whole party of Republicans is anti-human. Until every American recognizes this and chooses the leader with a heart and let him lead, we will always be stuck in the same defeating cycles.
Get the inhuman ones out, the Tparty, the GOP, the KOCHS, the Halliburton/war/oil men, the Roves, all the foreign lobbyists with their hands in our pockets and then we will see a country that supports life. FOX has the nerve to criticize Clinton and Obama, and for people to believe the lies.... it is simply beyond words.

Sherry D (47)
Thursday November 10, 2011, 1:25 pm
I do miss the Clinton economy.

Sir Walk F (124)
Friday November 11, 2011, 9:32 am
I absolutely loathe detest despise hate this 'man'.

Thanks for NAFTA, Bill!!

It's Democrats like him who have destroyed the party from the inside out. PATHETIC!


Kit B (276)
Friday November 11, 2011, 9:41 am

NAFTA - it does obviously need more research and understanding. Begin by reading the first draft that Clinton signed and then the changes under GW Bush. To have a trading partnership with defined rules is not a bad thing. To have imbalance of trade that destroys countries and their economy is a very bad thing. NAFTA was totally perverted as were all the laws that were to govern the use of NAFTA. Not dissimilar from the vast destruction of regulation of Wall Street and Banking.

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 12, 2011, 7:34 am
While many of us can see that Clinton did a much better job during his presidency than Obama is currently doing in his, we have to take in the fact that times have changed a lot since Clinton left. Personally, I'm not really a "fan" of Obama or Clinton, but I don't think anyone can deny that Clinton is a darn good politician - however. that does not mean that he had effective policies.

Sir Walk F (124)
Sunday November 13, 2011, 1:46 pm
Sorry, Kit. I can't agree. NAFTA was terrible for the American worker even before 2000, and was a large reason why so many showed up in Seatlle in 1999. IT was the begining of the end of the middle class in America. There is no sugar coating that.

Past Member (0)
Sunday November 13, 2011, 5:40 pm
Clinton is my hero.

If he can mess his diapers in front of the world and still not hide away in shame, I can face my own f----
and continue doing what I'm doing.

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