The Esquire interview

With Bill Clinton:

ESQUIRE: But it doesn’t seem like people in general think they can demand anything of government anymore. We’re divided between people who don’t think government can do anything and other people who think that we can’t demand anything. Do you think the outside-the-government fervor of the Occupy movement and other similar things is a good spur to change that?

CLINTON: Yes. Potentially it is, and that’s what I’ve been saying from the beginning. I’ve gotten some criticism on some of the more left-wing blogs about it, but the complaining about the abuses of the 1 percent or tenth of a percent of Americans who are in finance, who helped to cause this mess, that’s been very useful, because I’ve been talking about income inequality in America for twenty years, and when I was president, people didn’t pay much attention to it, probably because wages were going up. But I don’t think I’ve given a single solitary speech since I left office that I hadn’t talked about it. It’s a problem around the world and within the United States. So these people have put that on the agenda.

But what I’ve been trying to get them to do is to unite behind just one or two or three simple things that they can be for, and then mobilize people who won’t spend the night outside in November. And the infrastructure bank would be a very good thing to do, because it really would put people to work. If you wanted to create jobs in a way that has minimal effect on the deficit but has government action, the two best things you could do are the infrastructure bank and a simple SBA-like loan guarantee for all building retrofits, where the contractor or the energy-service company guarantees the savings. So that allows the bank to loan money to let a school or a college or a hospital or a museum or a commercial building unencumbered by debt to loan it on terms that are longer, so you can pay it back only from your utility savings. You could create a million jobs doing that because of the home models that are out there now.

There are these two guys on Long Island who started a little home-repair deal. They got thirty-five employees now, and they’re — they can go in, tell you how much they’ll save you. There’s an operation in Nebraska that’s in and out in a day, and they’re averaging more than 20 percent savings, and conservative Republican Nebraska is the only state in the country that has 100 percent publicly owned power. They’re all owned by municipalities, so the cities will just, you know, add the bill, and so if we’re all living there, we have three choices: We can just pay for the stuff right away and the bill goes down 20, 22 percent, or we can tell ’em, We’re gonna pay it off as quick as we can, but we can’t afford anything else, so you just take it out of our savings every month. That’s normally a year and a half. Or, if you want to take three years, you can give some of your savings now and split it with them. And the municipalities do it. [New York governor] Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill that got no coverage, which will basically allow people to do the same thing on their Con Ed bill. It’s called on-bill financing, so that you make a deal with the contractor and whoever’s financing the contractor to pay off your retrofit only through your savings. They estimate that in New York alone, they can create ten to twelve thousand jobs immediately doing this. This is the kind of thing we can be doing all over America, at low tax-dollar investment, to put a lot of people to work right away.

One of the problems is that a lot of people in your profession, particularly people who have to do the daily news and cover the politics all the time, they’re so sensitive about being branded too far to the left that everything’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and all the while, you know, these guys just keep moving farther to the right. But I still believe John Boehner has good sense, and he’s got a pretty good feel for America, you know, all that time he spent in his daddy’s bar, he’s got a pretty good feel for where Joe Six-Pack is, and I think that is important.

I also think that having all these businesspeople in Alabama recoiling against the extreme immigration law, that’s a very good thing.

One piece of this that I think we need to push harder, we the Democrats, because it’s an open door for the Republicans — prosperity centers. Why has Silicon Valley come back?

Because first of all, the tech bubble bursting was way overstated, you know, “Oh, it’s the end of the world” and all that. Yeah, the stocks were overvalued. From ’97 to ’99, the utilization of various information technologies, particularly telecommunications, increased at 500 percent a year worldwide. Nothing can sustain that. So you have stock, investment levels, premised on 500 percent growth per year — it’s not gonna last. When the so-called collapse occurred which caused the mini-recession in 2001, you know what happened? They went from 500 percent a year to 50 percent a year. Most economic enterprises would kill for 50 percent growth per year. So Silicon Valley comes back strong.

You’ve got Orlando with those one hundred computer-simulation companies. They got into computer simulation because you have the Disney and Universal theme parks, and Electronic Arts’ video-games division. And the Pentagon and NASA desperately need simulation, for different reasons. So there you’ve got the University of Central Florida, the biggest unknown university in America, fifty-six thousand students, changing curriculum, at least once a year, if not more often, to make sure they’re meeting whatever their needs are, and they’re recruiting more and more professors to do this kind of research that will lead to technology transfers to the companies. You’ve got Pittsburgh actually becoming a real hotbed of nanotechnology research. You’ve got San Diego, where there are more Nobel-prize-winning scientists living than any other city in America. You’ve got the University of California San Diego and other schools there training people to do genomic work. Qualcomm is headquartered there, and there are now seven hundred other telecom companies there, and you’ve got a big private foundation investing in this as well as the government, and nobody knows who’s a Republican or who’s a Democrat, they’re just building this networking.

This is the kind of thing that works. I like it when the president goes to Detroit and talks about how we got the auto business back, because if the American people knew the details of that, they would not see it as a bailout; they would see it as a financial reconstruction that saved two million jobs, not just the eighty thousand more we got working in the auto industry but every car dealership, every mechanic in every car dealership, every salesman of the cars, you know, the whole structure of part suppliers, and all that. But that’s what we need more of, things that will work. So then I think the auto restructuring directly led to the next big bipartisan agreement, which was on higher mileage standards for cars, which will create 150,000 jobs in the new technology, because you have the unions, the car ownerships, the foreign car owners, the companies that sell a lot of cars in America, the government, and then the management — everybody’s working together.

I’d like to see the country, instead of being in just a deep funk about all the hideous problems we got — which are manifold — look at these islands of prosperity and see what works.

8 thoughts on “The Esquire interview

  1. More gibberish from Clinton. When the price of a ‘thing’ goes up then your “20 percent savings” turns into a 20 percent cost quite rapidly. Very few of the Silicone Valley stocks were increasing by 500 percent, ever. And very few are increasibg by 50 percent today. Clinton the Clown say’s lots of stuff that sounds intelligent. But when you pick it apart its just hot air. Better you should listen to Romney who speaks in a much slicker way.

  2. Clinton and the arms-for-drugs operation (Iran Contra). While governor of Arkansas (1983-1992) a small airstrip in Mena, Arkansas was used by the CIA to ship arms to the Contra guerilla’s in Nicaragua and drugs back into the USA (1984-1987). Larry Nichols, who Clinton appointed to head the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (1986-1987), was the CIA liason officer in that operation. Then there’s this. In Clinton’s nomination acceptance speech before the 1992 Democratic Convention he noted that Professor Carroll Quigley was one of the most notable influences on his political development. Who was Quigley? Look up: Cecil Rhodes, Round Table Group, J. P. Morgan, Council on Foreign Relations, and SMERSH. You’ll find it interesting reading.

  3. I’m not sure that there’s a single presidency that did more to destroy our way of life Than Bill Clinton’s. From Nafta, to ‘Welfare’ reform, to repealing every regulation he could get the votes for; Bill Clinton did things the Republicans never could have done.

    Why would anyone listen to anything that man has to say?

  4. Calling bullshit on imhotep. Conspiracy theories a-go-go, all of it scooped out of the bowels of the most batshit corners of the right wing. That Mena nonsense is straight out of the “Clinton Chronicles,” the fake documentary peddled by Jerry Falwell on late-night television that should have gotten his church and university’s non-profit status pulled. As for “very few of the Silicon Valley stocks were increasing 500 percent,” well duh; THAT WAS HIS POINT. NONE OF THEM HAD 500 PERCENT MORE VALUE. It was the tulip craze all over again.

  5. Talk about someone who loves to hear the sound of his own voice?

    This criminal takes the cake.

    Yadadayadayadayayada….he’s one of the principal culprits for the current devastation most of the country is enduring RIGHT NOW!

    Pleeze. Go away already.

  6. SalHepatica, call bullshit all you’d like. What you didn’t offer were facts to counter the ‘facts’ put forward. So here are some additional ‘facts’. The CIA/Clinton/Reagan-Bush arms-for-drugs (Contra) operation run out of the Mena, Arkansas airport with Clinton’s blessing had no shortage of odd players. One of those was “Freeway” Ricky Ross the cocaine king of Los Angeles. It was the job of Nicaraguan drug merchants and CIA assets Danilo Blandon and Norvin Meneses to sell the CIA’s cocaine in the USA and use the proceeds to bankroll Nicaragua’s right wing Contra guerillas. They called on “Freeway” Ricky Ross who was shown how to turn cocaine into crack by Meneses to flood the streets of L.A. with their product in 1985-1986. Which of those facts are “bullshit” SalHepatica?

  7. SalHepatica, once agian you don’t put forward any counter-facts to disprove what you call “bullshit” facts or conspiracy theories. Therefore one can only assume that you don’t operate in a world of provable facts. Rather you operate in a world filled with silly and wrongheaded opinions based on who knows what. You know what they say about opinions don’t you SalHepatica? Those who don’t want to admit to obvious facts often call those who put forward those facts a nut case or a fool. Sometimes they even crucify these crazy fools. So what are you SalHepatica–open minded or close minded?

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