Clinton Delivers Optimistic Message at Vegas Market
Jenny Heinzen York -- Furniture Today, August 25, 2011
LAS VEGAS - Although the United States' economy remains fragile and the debt ceiling crisis has triggered a slide in the already-nervous financial markets, there are plenty of reasons for optimism, according to former President Bill Clinton, who spoke at the Las Vegas Market Aug. 2.
Thousands of market attendees packed the World Market Center's Pavilion area for the keynote event, sponsored by Serta.
In the wide-ranging speech, Clinton touched on issues affecting the global economy and offered insights on the political uproar over the debt ceiling.
"The world we live in has three huge problems," he said. "It's highly unstable, it's too unequal and it isn't sustainable."
He said the growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor is holding the world back from growth.
"This inequality prevents us from creating a world where the free trade rules have any chance of working," he said. "There's too much inequality to build a broad-based, consumer- driven economy."
Clinton said that throughout history, countries tend to make the same mistakes.
"They get too interested in preserving their position," he said. "As a result, the political system develops a heavy bias toward preserving gains rather than investing in the future. We have to put America back in the future business."
He said the recent political debacle over raising the debt ceiling "may be great politics but it makes bad policy." While he said the debt is a legitimate issue that needs to be tackled in a bipartisan fashion, it should not be done until the economy really starts to rebound - probably in 2013 - because cutting spending or raising taxes too soon could trigger another downturn.
After his talk, Clinton fielded pre-submitted questions through International Market Centers CEO Bob Maricich. The former president ended the evening on an upbeat note.
"People have been betting against this country since before we were a country," he said. "We have been declared dead many times. So far, everyone that ever bet against America has lost."