Politics over problem-solving needs to change: former Pres. Clinton

Applauded for saying U.S. needs détente in Washington to rebuild trust

Jun 6, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

By Dan Jamieson

Politics is getting in the way of fixing the world’s problems, former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday at the Pershing LLC conference in Hollywood, Fla.

But he urged financial services professionals to stay focused on solutions.

Mr. Clinton ran through a long list of issues the world faces — energy usage and the environment, disease and the cost of health care, political instability and inequality.

“It’s all fixable,” Mr. Clinton told attendees.

“What works often in politics is confrontation,” he said. But “all over the world, cooperation works.”

He cited projects undertaken by his foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, to fight poverty around the world.

Mr. Clinton noted that it’s much easier to get cooperation as a private citizen running the foundation than as an elected official.

When asked about the European situation, Mr. Clinton said, “The best thing we can do is give some cover and encouragement to Germany to take a slightly different tack.”

Germany has been pushing austerity for the peripheral eurozone nations, but deep cuts at this time, with interest rates at zero and the global economy stalled, will produce lower revenues and larger deficits.

What Germany is doing now is trying to assure German voters that issuing eurobonds or increasing deposit insurance coverage on Spanish banks can lead to longer-term agreements to balance budgets, Mr. Clinton said.

Back here in the U.S., “we have to re-establish trust between the two parties in Washington,” he said — a statement that got a round of applause from attendees.

“He certainly didn’t get the applause that [George W. Bush got] last year” at the Pershing event, one attendee said after Mr. Clinton concluded. Mr. Bush got a rousing standing ovation.

“But you have to like how articulate and knowledgeable” Mr. Clinton about world events, said another source who heard Mr. Clinton’s speech.

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