Bill Clinton on Corporations

President of the U.S., 1993-2001; Former Democratic Governor (AR)


Republicans cut taxes for the rich & deregulate banks

[The Republicans] convinced me they were honorable people who believe what they've said and they're going to keep every commitment they've made. We've just got to make sure the American people know what those commitments are.

They want to cut taxes for high-income Americans even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit federal bailouts. They want to actually increase defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested, without saying what they'll spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children.

I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better: He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy.

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 5, 2012

More incentives for small business and technology transfers

Source: Back to Work, by Bill Clinton, p.177-184 , Nov 8, 2011

If banks loaned out their $2T in cash, recession would end

Q: Why are banks and corporations sitting on so much cash?

A: The banks have about $2 trillion in cash uncommitted to loans. They could loan, in theory, at conservative ratios of 10 to 1, $20 trillion. Obviously, if that happened, the recession would be over in 15 seconds. 40% of the small businesses said they would expand their operations and hire more people if they could get credit, and they can't get credit. We've got to clean these bank books up. Right now, everybody's frozen. And by far the biggest thing we could do is to have a more aggressive move on the home-mortgage problem.

Q: What else will make banks start spending cash?

A: You've got a lot of cash being held overseas. So what we should do now is say, You bring this money back for free if you can prove you increase net employment. For everybody you increase net employment on, you get that much credit for free. If you want to spend it on whatever you want, pay the long-term capital gains rate, 15%.

Source: Time Magazine on "Back To Work" book tour by Bill Clinton , Jan 21, 2011

Downsizing is part of transition to information economy

In the 1990's, when President Bill Clinton faced a massive structural change in the American economy as it adjusted to global competition, he was under great pressure to do more to stop big companies from "downsizing" (in the vocabulary of the day). But he understood that when mega-companies shed middle-level workers and management, it was part of the transition to the information-based economy. Just as the British Enclosure Acts of the eighteenth and nineteenth century pushed the labor force off th land and into the cities, where they became the workers for the new industrial revolution, so these former employees of firms like IBM became workers in the information age industries. Instead of trying to fashion tax and regulatory policies to keep workers at their old jobs--or to so dose them with federal spending that they did not feel the pain of their layoffs--the Clinton administration encouraged American workers to reeducate themselves to adjust and adapt to the new landscape.
Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p. 42-43 , Apr 13, 2010

Since 2001, 40-year high in corporate profit, but flat wages

[Since I left office in the] United States we have had five years of economic growth, worker productivity increases, and a forty-year high in corporate profits, but median wages are flat, and the poverty rate among working families has risen, as has the percentage of people without health insurance. Increased outsourcing of production and services has intensified insecurity. Most of the economic gains of this decade have gone to those people with the top 10 percent of incomes. And amidst all our wealth, there are people who are hungry, homeless, jobless, ill, disabled, desperate, isolated, and ignored. There are children with dreams that will die without a helping hand.

The modern world, for all its blessings, is unequal, unstable, and unsustainable.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p. 4 , Sep 4, 2007

1980s: microcredit in rural Arkansas; 1990s: same across US

In Bangladesh. Grameen Bank makes small loans to poor people, 97% of them women. Without requiring collateral or even a signed agreement, Grameen has an astonishing loan recovery rate of 98.3%, and has earned a profit in all but 3 years since it came into existence.

Over the last twenty-five years, Grameen's success has inspired people all over the world. In the mid-1980s, Hillary and I raised funds to open a microcredit facility to spur development in rural Arkansas, based on the Grameen model. During my 1990s White House years, I secured funds from Congress to support microcredit programs and establish community development banks in the United States, and to provide about two million microcredit loans a year in developing countries.

Today, millions of loans are being made every year by microcredit institutions.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p. 6-7 , Sep 4, 2007

Investment capital over nonproductive corporate debt

[One of the principles of the New Democrat philosophy is that] waste is going to be punished. It appears to me that we are spending billions of dollars of investment capital increasing the debt of (corporations) without increasing their productivity. More debt should mean increased productivity, growth, and profitability. More debt means too often, less employment, less investment for research and development, and forced restructuring to service nonproductive debt.
Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.327 , Jun 21, 2004

OpEd: Pushed corporate-inspired bills on telecomm & trade

In 1992, Clinton defined what a "new Democrat" was like. Over the next 4 years, he so favorably astonished the business lobbies that the head of the National Association of Manufacturers told me after a cable television taping that we shared, "We like Clinton more and more."

And why not? The boy wonder from Arkansas pushed through the greatest surrender of local, state, and national sovereignty in US history to those corporate-inspired systems of autocratic governance called NAFTA and the WTO. Clinton signed the megacorporate legislations involving the telecommunications and agribusiness industries, ballyhooed phony welfare reform for the poor while creating new models of corporate welfare, and undermined civil liberties in signing 3 criminal bills, all while losing a health insurance package in a Democrat-controlled Congress in 1994.

Source: Crashing the Party, by Ralph Nader, p. 44 , Oct 14, 2002

Limit deductions for executive pay

PROMISE: Limit deductions for executive pay.

STATUS: Clinton signed legislation that denies a deduction to any publicly held corporation for compensation exceeding $1 million paid to CEO's or other high-ranking officers. Qualified retirement plan contributions and performance-based awards approved by shareholders are exempt from the cap.

PROMISE: Allow businesses to deduct bonus and severance packages for executives only if other employees are offered similar packages.

STATUS: No action taken

Source: State of the Union, by T.Blood & B.Henderson, p.121-122 , Aug 1, 1996

50% tax exclusion for long-term investment in new business

PROMISE: To offer a 50% tax exclusion to those who make long-term investments in new businesses.

STATUS: As part of its 1993 Economic Plan, the Administration enacted a 50% capital-gains tax exclusion targeted at investments in small businesses. The provision allows investors who buy newly issued stock in small businesses and hold that stock for more than 5 years to receive a 50% cut in the capital-gains tax on the profit from the sale of the stock. The President also supports the Hatch-Lieberman bill, which would allow the profit from long-term investments in small business stock to be excluded from capital-gains tax. The percentage of profit that would be excluded would increase from the current 50% exclusion to a 75% exclusion. And if the profits are reinvested in another qualified small business stock, the tax would be 100% deferred.

Source: State of the Union, by T.Blood & B.Henderson, p.119 , Aug 1, 1996

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Other past presidents on Corporations: Bill Clinton on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022