Former President Bill Clinton describes President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act as “a good thing for America,” but he says he doubts the Republicans will support it.
“I thought it was a good plan that he outlined, and I still hope that quite a lot of it will pass, because I think it would put Americans back to work,” Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning.
The proposed plan provides a $1,500 tax cut for U.S. families, incentives for employers to hire new workers, $50 billion in government infrastructure money, and $10 million to seed an infrastructure bank — all of which will stimulate the economy and lead to growth, Clinton said.
The controversial tax increases for the wealthy — also part of Obama’s jobs plan — are the right thing to do in a time of emergency, he said.
“The least harmful tax increases are the ones that Sen. [Mitch] McConnell and the people who agree with him hate the most, and that is restoring the tax levels . . . for those in high income groups,” he said. “That is the one that does the least harm.”
He took Republicans to task for insisting on government-spending cuts during a severe economic crisis.
“Right now, what we need to do is put Americans back to work, get growth going, and then bring this debt down,” he said. That’s what I think.”
Also today, during an interview with ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Clinton said Obama’s plan has the potential to create as many as 2 million jobs.
If Congress approves the bill, it “could put about 2 percent more on the GDP growth of the coming year, and could drop unemployment by somewhere between 1 to 2 million” jobs, Clinton said.
Clinton told Amanpout it isn’t clear whether Congress would approve most or all of the measure.
“We live in a time where there’s this huge disconnect between the way the political system works and the way the economic system works,” he said.
Obama was “dealt a bad hand” when he entered the Oval Office and is “out there running against himself” as he promotes his plan to the public, Clinton said, adding that the bickering between Democrats and Republicans makes for good politics but poor policies.
“I think there ought to be cooperation, but conflict seems to be better politics,” he said. “Cooperation’s better economics.”
The former president appeared on the news programs as he embarks on the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York.
“I think you’ll see some innovative things that will be a real beacon of what America could do, and do in a hurry, to put itself back to work if we move the money to where the jobs are,” he told “Meet the Press” of the three-day conference.
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