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Friday, July 8, 2011

Bill Clinton: Debt is Republicans' legacy

Bill Clinton speaks at an event. | AP Photo
Bill Clinton blames Republicans for doubling the debt after he left office.

Bill Clinton bashed Republicans as hypocrites on Wednesday, saying their policies created the huge budget deficits that the GOP is now using to demand economically harmful spending cuts.

"Why aren’t we talking more about the economy and less about this?" Clinton said during a speech to liberal youth activists in Washington. "Partly because the Republicans who control the House and have a lot of pull in the Senate have now decided, having quadrupled the debt in 12 years before I took office and doubled it after I left, that it's all of a sudden the biggest problem in the world."

Speaking at Campus Progress’s seventh annual conference, Clinton blamed GOP leaders for creating the deficit through tax cuts and military spending. He also warned President Barack Obama and congressional leaders to avoid lumping immediate spending cuts into any debt limit deal because the economy still hasn't fully recovered.

"In the current budget debate, there's all this discussion about how much will come from spending cuts, how much will come from tax increases, and almost nobody is talking about one of the central points, that everyone who's analyzed the situation makes, including the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which said you shouldn't do any of this until the economy is clearly recovering," Clinton said.

"Because if you do things that dampen economic growth, and the U.K. is finding this out now, they adopted this big austerity budget, and there's a good chance that economic activity will go down so much that tax revenues will be reduced even more than spending is cut, and their deficit will increase," he added.

Clinton last month told Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt that it was “crazy” for Obama and Congress to consider spending cuts now. He urged them to wait two years before venturing into the types of reductions envisioned by the Simpson-Bowles commission.

Obama is scheduled to meet Thursday at the White House with House and Senate leaders from both parties as they search for an agreement before an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation’s borrowing limit from its current cap of $14.3 trillion.

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