Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy

Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy

3.7 66
by Bill Clinton
     
 

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President Bill Clinton gives us his views on the challenges facing the United States today and why government matters—presenting his ideas on restoring economic growth, job creation, financial responsibility, resolving the mortgage crisis, and pursuing a strategy to get us "back in the future business.” He explains how we got into the current economic

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Overview

President Bill Clinton gives us his views on the challenges facing the United States today and why government matters—presenting his ideas on restoring economic growth, job creation, financial responsibility, resolving the mortgage crisis, and pursuing a strategy to get us "back in the future business.” He explains how we got into the current economic crisis, and offers specific recommendations on how we can put people back to work, increase bank lending and corporate investment, double our exports, restore our manufacturing base, and create new businesses. He supports President Obama’s emphasis on green technology, saying that changing the way we produce and consume energy is the strategy most likely to spark a fast-growing economy while enhancing our national security.

Clinton also stresses that we need a strong private sector and a smart government working together to restore prosperity and progress, demonstrating that whenever we’ve given in to the temptation to blame government for all our problems, we’ve lost our ability to produce sustained economic growth and shared prosperity.

Clinton writes, “There is simply no evidence that we can succeed in the twenty-first century with an antigovernment strategy,” based on “a philosophy grounded in ‘you’re on your own’ rather than ‘we’re all in this together.’ ” He believes that conflict between government and the private sector has proved to be good politics but has produced bad policies, giving us a weak economy with not enough jobs, growing income inequality and poverty, and a decline in our competitive position. In the real world, cooperation works much better than conflict, and “Americans need victories in real life.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bill Clinton may be a busier man these days than he was during his time in office. In this compelling ode to all things American, Clinton offers his take on what’s gone wrong in the United States over the past 30 years—everything from the lack of jobs to the mortgage crisis—and how to fix these ills. As the former president so elegantly puts it, “I want American Dream growth.” Clinton’s narrative tone is that of a seasoned orator, and his inherent ability to command an audience is undiminished. His voice bears a certain weight and wisdom that can only develop after a full life spent on the campaign trail and in the White House. Clinton’s America is one that is not as doomed as some would make it out to be, and, as he points out early on, we’re all in this together. A Knopf hardcover. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“A reality-based strategy for economic renewal packed with ideas on how to fix America’s job machine . . . Offers some well-timed optimism . . . Contains sensible ideas . . . Articulate, engaging.” —Daniel Gross, The Washington Post
 
“A lucid one-man rebuttal of the Tea Party’s anti-government agenda and a practical set of proposals . . . for restoring economic growth. A succinct common-sense argument for why America needs a strong national government, why both spending cuts and increased tax revenues are necessary for addressing the debt problem (which is going to get worse given the demographics of an aging baby-boomer population and the high costs of interest payments), and why that debt problem ‘can’t be solved unless the economy starts growing again.’” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“This book presents page after page of intelligent suggestions on how the U.S. can cut its crippling debt, create new jobs, and get ‘back into the future business’ . . . I found much to agree with.” —James Pressley, Bloomberg News
 
“A personal, plain-spoken economic picture of where we are, a mile-high view of the three decades that got us here, and how to revive our economy in classic ‘American Dream growth’ style. . . . If this list whiplashes from the nitty-gritty to the mile-high view and back again, it demonstrates that Clinton is a politician who can operate at both levels without breaking a sweat. . . . A book with the chutzpah that the Democrats have been missing.” —Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
 
"Four stars . . . There’s an upbeat, front-foot tone to Back to Work that is welcome at a time of despair. Love him or hate him, [Clinton] hasn’t lost his touch . . . It’s refreshing to hear from him." —Martin Vander Weyer, The Telegraph (U.K.)
 
“Convincing . . . A rallying cry to America . . . Informed, high-minded, intelligent and persuasive… Clinton is probably the best natural politician of his generation. His skill at framing an argument is without peer and that he generally does so without demagoguery is to his lasting credit. In this case, the fact that he has simple common sense on his side doesn't hurt either. These pages should be required reading for any Democrat running for office next year.” —Erik Tarloff, The Observer (U.K.)
 
“Bill Clinton has an idea. A few dozen ideas, in fact, about ways large and small to get unemployed Americans back to work—from granting property tax breaks for investments that create jobs to painting every flat tar roof in U.S. cities white for the energy savings.” —Susan Page, USA Today
 
“A book full of ideas about how to revive the economy and get America’s unemployed millions back to work . . . The book has two main strengths. First, while arguing, rightly, that in the short run the American economy urgently needs a boost from government spending, it spells out in simple terms why Uncle Sam also needs a credible strategy for sorting out the country’s long-term fiscal problems . . . Second, Mr. Clinton is at his famously wonkish best in scouring America and the world to find practical ideas for getting people back to work." —The Economist
 
“Feisty . . . a cogent, well-informed attack on the GOP’s ‘antigovernment ideology.’ A smart, forthright, appealingly folksy defense of activist government.” —Publishers’ Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
The former president and bestselling author comes out swinging on the economic front. He does so, it seems, a touch reluctantly. Clinton (Giving, 2007, etc.) writes that he had conceived this book but then shelved it several times "because politics is no longer the center of my working life"--and, he continues, "I don't just want to add another stone to the Democratic side of the partisan scale." An apolitical, nonpartisan Clinton? Fat chance, and here, with considerable appetite, he tears into the antigovernment opposition, the ones who assert, with Ronald Reagan, that government is part of the problem, if not the problem. Nonsense, Clinton argues: Government has many roles, not least an economic one in assuring that the political and social conditions are fitting to a robust economy. Besides, he writes, despite what that opposition is saying, the recent banking meltdown happened because the banks were overleveraged. The government helped avert a full-scale depression, and the stimulus helped "put a floor under the collapse and begin the recovery." The opposition--he keeps returning to it--may appear to be antigovernment, but it's really antitax and antiregulation, two things that simply don't make sense in the current economic climate. In good political form, Clinton begins with generalities about what a good country this could be and what's wrong with it--all those antigovernment talking heads, for one thing, who "already have the answers, and the fact that the evidence doesn't support them is irrelevant." Happily, though, he moves on to pointed specifics, some honed in policy-wonkish detail--on, for example, relaxing mortgage debt, developing a renewable energy regime and getting small businesses into the exporting game ("This is what Germany does"). Vintage Clinton, with provocative if generally evenhanded solutions to the economic crisis and political stalemate plaguing the country.
Michiko Kakutani
Bill Clinton's new book…is really several books in one slender volume. It's a lucid one-man rebuttal of the Tea Party's anti-government agenda. A series of shrewd talking points for Democrats trying to hold on to the White House and battling for control of Congress in the midst of a sour economy and growing voter discontent. A self-serving reminder of the prosperity the country enjoyed during Mr. Clinton's tenure in the White House…And a practical set of proposals—some borrowed and some new, some innovative and some highly sketchy—for restoring economic growth and creating jobs…Mr. Clinton serves up a succinct common-sense argument for why America needs a strong national government…
—The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307959751
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/08/2011
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
413,158
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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