Tags: Clinton | Debt | Campaign | political

Bill Clinton: Debt Deal Should Be Top Campaign Priority

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 07:59 AM

Those running for office this year should prioritize how they'll reach across the aisle to find ways to narrow deficits and tackle other fiscal issues, says former President Bill Clinton.

"I think this budget issue should become front and center in this election," Clinton said at a fiscal summit sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, CNNMoney reports.

"As soon as this election is over, I think the incentives will be there for both parties to make more compromises than they have in the past."

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

Political bickering and brinkmanship has held up addressing fiscal problems, most notably in 2011, when Democrats and Republicans voted at the last minute to raise the country's debt ceiling, narrowly avoiding default.

This year, Congress will probably unlikely agree on a new budget during an election year, Clinton said.

A deficit reduction plan will be unlikely until growth picks up around 3 percent a year, when spending cuts become a little less painful, Clinton said.

"If we don't deal with it, we will have growth come back and interest rates will go up so fast you won't be able to catch your breath," Clinton said.

"And everybody will say, 'Why didn't we do this earlier?'"

House Speaker John Boehner, speaking at the same event, said that when the debt ceiling topic returns anew, the country should focus this time on cutting spending and less on raising the borrowing limit in a way that would encourage more spending.

"When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase," Boehner said, according to the Associated Press.

"This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance."

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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