After making nice in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the former president has a few words of advice for his successor.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bill Clinton made nice with George W. Bush. Those days seem to be over. Appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Clinton had a few words to say about the policies of his successor, and they weren’t the kind designed to get him invited for another boat ride with the president’s father.
On rolling back some of Bush’s tax cuts to pay for Katrina: “I think it’s very important that Americans understand, you know, tax cuts are always popular, but about half of these tax cuts since 2001 have gone to people in my income group, the top 1 percent. I’ve gotten four tax cuts. They’re responsible for this big structural deficit, and they’re not going away, the deficits aren’t. Now, what Americans need to understand is that that means every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina and our tax cuts. We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else.”
On the Republicans’ responsibility for problems involving poverty and race: “If you give your tax cuts to the rich and hope everything works out all right, and poverty goes up, and it disproportionately affects black and brown people, that’s a consequence of the action made. That’s what they did in the ’80s; that’s what they’ve done in this decade. In the middle, we had a different policy. We concentrated tax cuts on lower-income working people and benefits to low-income people that helped them move from welfare to work, and we moved 100 times as many people out of poverty. We know what works, and we had a program that was drastically reducing poverty, and they got rid of it. And they don’t believe in it.”
On whether the United States has a strategy for winning in Iraq: “Well, if we do, it’s not working right now, at least … A lot of good Americans have given their lives; thousands of others have been horribly wounded. So I have been in a position where I wanted the strategy to work. Whether it will or not, I don’t know. But the only thing I would sacrifice it to is if I thought we were going to lose in Afghanistan. We cannot lose in Afghanistan. We cannot let the Taliban come back. We cannot let [Hamid] Karzai fail. We cannot relax our efforts to try to keep undermining al-Qaida, because that’s still by far a bigger threat to our security.”
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