Former President Bill Clinton says the United States needs two things above all others: more immigrants and less debt.
"We need more immigrants. We need to reverse the age ratio. I see that as part of fiscal responsibility, Clinton said during a speech at the Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit.
The reason there is anti-immigrant sentiment is that the economic downturn of the past decade hit undereducated young white males hardest, a group that would have lower taxes now if there were more taxpayers footing the bill, The Atlantic reported Clinton as saying.
“The changes we make will be less draconian if we get more people into the system,” Clinton said.
”I don't think there's any alternative than to increase immigration. I don't see any way out of this unless that's part of the strategy."
The United States must get back into “the future business," he says. "We can't do it if we keep mortgaging our future to other countries ... to our children and grandchildren,” he says.
Should the government introduce a value-added tax (VAT), Clinton said it would need to reduce other taxes to remain progressive. A VAT, he added, would be good for exports, and reduce subsidies for imports.
“If we had the right sort of value-added tax and had the right adjustments to keep the progressivity, it'd be really good,” Clinton said.
In a recent interview, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, now chairman of the financial advisory committee to President Barack Obama, commented that a VAT “is common in every other industrialized country” but has “never been popular in the United States,” The New York Times reports.
“I don’t think it’s on the political table now or for the indefinite future, but that’s the kind of thing you have to look at,” Volcker said.
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