Huffpost Politics

Bill Clinton: Austerity Can't Solve Debt Problem (VIDEO)

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Clinton spoke out against austerity on Friday at the House Democrats annual retreat in Virginia. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for TRANS4M) | Getty Images
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With automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin March 1, former President Bill Clinton urged Congress today to seek alternative options to solve the debt problem.

Clinton, at the House Democrats' annual retreat in Virginia, likened his opinion on the debt problem to that of Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and advocated against "conventional austerity measures."

Clinton said:

The debt problem can’t be solved right now by conventional austerity measures, and that’s why Paul Krugman is right when he keeps talking about all these -- everybody that’s tried austerity in a time of no growth has wound up cutting revenues even more than they cut spending because you just get into the downward spiral and drag the country back into recession.

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Although Krugman has frequently advocated against austerity, today on HuffPost Live, Krugman voiced his opinion even more strongly, calling it "an unethical experimentation on human beings."

"All these countries are pursuing austerity policies, and in doing so, they are giving us evidence on what actually happens when you do those policies," Krugman said.

Clinton also has been a longtime vocal opponent of austerity measures. In May, Clinton said at a financial conference that "the prescription of austerity continues to be pushed in the face of evidence that it won't work." In June, Clinton stood alongside President Barack Obama and said "no amount of austerity will balance the budget," ABC News reported.

On Tuesday, Obama asked Congress to seek a short-term deficit reduction package hoping to delay the current March 1 start date of automatic spending cuts. The White House and Congress have been unable to reach an agreement on how to reduce the deficit by around $4 trillion over 10 years. Obama, like Clinton, has said that the economic damage of the looming austerity measures must be avoided.

(h/t ThinkProgress)

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