Thursday, January 27, 2011

Davos Annual Meeting 2011 - William J. Clinton

At the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab interviewed President Clinton on January 27, 2011. During the interview, President Clinton practically admitted that the Democrats threw the 2010 midterm elections. According to him, they “forgot” to come with a message for that election and they even “forgot” to spend the money they raised for the campaign.

“In 2010, for reasons I will never understand, the Democrats reverted to the strategy of 1994, raised $1.6 billion and didn’t spend even 10% of it to tell the American people what they had done, what they intended to do, and what the differences were,” said President Clinton.

The Democrats “needed” to lose the election because America “needed” the Republicans to come in and shrink the budget deficit. Apparently, we couldn’t get the Democrats to do that. President Clinton basically admitted that America needed to cut its budget deficit because it could no longer finance it.

“Now, we borrow the money from our trading partners and we are aggravating the global imbalances and the capital flows when we do that,” said President Clinton.

President Clinton admitted that the political situation in America was in a sorry state and offered some advice on how to fix it.

“What I think America needs as much as anything else is to stop conducting its politics in a parallel universe divorced from reality with no facts,” said President Clinton.

As an example of this parallel universe, President Clinton cited Michele Bachmann who claimed that America had the greatest health care system in the world.

“That is factually untrue,” said President Clinton. “You can get the best health care in the world in America if you’re Bill Clinton or David Gergen or Turki Faisal but that’s not the same as having the best system that is working for everybody.”

President Clinton noted that America spent $1 trillion more per year on health care than other countries and no one even talked about that during the election.

“I listened to a zillion debates on health care and nobody in the press ever said, ‘Well, what about the cost of continuing the status quo,’” said President Clinton. “We’re spending 17.2% of our income on health care and none of our nearest competitors are near 10.5%.”

In the interview, President Clinton predicted the upcoming debt ceiling debate, which proves that the whole thing was political theater to begin with.

“The conservatives and the Tea Party will probably try to force the President and the Democrats to accept basically the obliteration of the future budget of the federal government and our obligations to the world, to the AIDS program, and other things or they’ll say we won’t vote to raise the debt limit,” said President Clinton. “And then one side or the other will blink. Or they both will and then we’ll get through that. Then we’ll fight some more. Then if we’re lucky it will be like it was with Newt Gingrich and me and Bob Dole and we’ll start working together and do good things for America. But we’re going to have to put up with a little blood on the floor and a little uncertainty and a little of both sides playing chicken for a while.”

President Clinton appears to hope that the Obama administration will be a repeat of his administration. But he should know that history does not repeat itself. Just ask Larry Summers.

When asked whether or not America was in decline, President Clinton answered that he did not know what the future would hold, though he insisted our fate would be determined by what we decided to do now.

“You go all the way back to the Sumerian civilization you’ll see that every successful civilization builds institutions that work, that lift it to greatness, and lifts its talented people up and reward people for their productive efforts,” said President Clinton. “Then, if you look at everyone of those countries or the Roman Empire you see at some point all those institutions that benefited people get long in the tooth, they get creaky, the people running them become more interested in holding on to their relative power than advancing the purpose for which the institution was established. The people who are their constituents become more interested in holding on to present benefits than putting a little of it at risk to build a better future for our children and our grandchildren. That’s where we are now in the public and private sector.”

“I’m still with where Winston Churchill was when the British press baited him about America and his buddy Roosevelt not coming into World War II and he said America always does the right thing after exhausting ever other alternative,” said President Clinton.

I am still waiting. The right thing to do would be to tell the world the truth, but it doesn’t seem like America has any interest in doing that.

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