My favorite part of his speech last night–my emphasis added:
Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was president.
(I hope he means it and will carry that thought into the White House if he wins the general election…I do realize there are probably more than good economic policy reasons why he evoked Bill Clinton’s name last night, however…)
That last sentence refers to the “virtuous cycle” of fiscal responsibility which I researched and wrote about in President Clinton’s final Economic Report, in Chapter 2, pages 79-93. (I was the Council of Economic Advisers’ senior economist for budget and tax policy for that last year of the Clinton Administration and the first 100 days of the Bush Administration.) I think it’s good to read this and reflect on how much the fiscal outlook has changed since January 2001. In particular, if you read the last subsection on “The Importance of Maintaining Fiscal Discipline,” it’s clear how little the advice from the outgoing Clinton Administration was heeded by the incoming Bush Administration.