Clinton says deteriorating economy creating ‘anxiety’

Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 12:26am

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the U.S. economy has replaced Iraq as the nation’s top concern and the government must take quick action to avoid a lengthy recession.

“We don’t have time to wait,” the New York senator said in an interview with Bloomberg Television from Las Vegas, where she is campaigning before the state’s party caucuses in three days. “We’ve got to get the president and Congress working together to take the fiscal steps that hopefully will eliminate some of the pain.”

Clinton’s campaign said yesterday she will spend the “next several weeks” addressing the subject. She and the other candidates are facing more than two dozen primaries and caucuses over the next three weeks, including states such as Florida and California that have been hit hard by the housing market slump.

Voters “are feeling incredible anxiety,” Clinton said.

Clinton, 60, proposed a $70 billion stimulus package on Jan. 11, including assistance for some taxpayers to compensate for rising energy costs and to help avoid foreclosures on homes. It includes a $40 billion tax rebate for middle-income families if the economy continues to decline.

She said today the government should invest money in so-called “green-collar jobs,” such as those involved in alternative energy production and conservation, to reduce the U.S. dependency on foreign oil. “I want to start funding the jobs of the future,” she said.

Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell in December and the unemployment rate rose to 5 percent, the highest in two years. Clinton’s competitors in the Democratic race, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, also have released proposals intended to stave off a recession.

On Jan. 13, Obama unveiled a $75 billion plan, including a $250 tax cut for most Americans and $10 billion to help homeowners facing foreclosures. He plans an economic forum today in Van Nuys, Calif.

Edwards last month called on Congress to approve a $25 billion package of investments in clean energy, job training and unemployment benefits, and another $75 billion in the event of a recession.

The economy has become a major issue on the Republican side as well. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney used the issue to win the Michigan primary yesterday over Arizona Sen. John McCain. Michigan’s unemployment rate of 7.4 percent leads the nation.

Clinton also repeated her call for greater transparency for investments by overseas sovereign wealth funds that are putting capital into U.S. financial institutions. Disclosure and oversight is needed to make sure such investments don’t run counter to U.S. interests.

“I don’t have any problem with these funds, as long as they are transparent, as long as there are international rules as to how they function,” she said in the interview. “This is a new challenge we face.”

Clinton also took aim at Obama for comments he made to the Reno Gazette-Journal and at last night’s debate in Las Vegas that he doesn’t see himself acting as the government’s “operating officer” if he wins the presidency.

Clinton said she was “taken aback” by Obama’s comments.

“It’s important that we have a president who understands that you have to run the government,” she said. Americans “want a president who they believe gets up every single day and works for them. That requires a president who is hands-on.”

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By: BADCOPS on 12/31/69 at 7:00

This woman is beyond scary!

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Sure the war went the wrong way for them (we aren't loseing) so now they roll out another welfare program.What they propose will not stimulate the economy it will just redistribute some wealth.Get rid of the illegals and the money they send home removed from our economey would help much more, not to mention easing up on the demand on our social services and the gas demand. That would be more money without it costing the taxpayers anything. In fact it would be the double edge sword in a good way, putting more money back into our economey at no additional cost to the taxpayers. (plus the benifits would be ongoing)The dem plan is always the same for anything throw money at something and feel good about yourselves and buy votes in the process.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Yes, this economy is getting scary. There's indicators from every level that our next recession is gonna be bad, really bad. Talk about stressing rich politicians? Think more of those who are barely eking by. There's always much padding to be had by the upper economic echelon, but given we've many, many more, now, that aren't so well off, this thing could break nassty.From Fred Thompson, yesterday in a radio spot in South Carolina..."United State's spending on programs like Medicare and welfare puts the country on a course for the same financial oblivion that brought down the Soviet Union during the Cold War.""We're doing it in a different way," Thompson said during a radio interview in response to a question about President Ronald Reagan's strategy of outspending the Soviet Union and whether the U.S. was now on the same course. "The bottom line could be the same.""Recurring spending demands for programs that pay for health care, welfare and social security will take up the entire budget within 30 years""We're spending ourselves into oblivion, it cannot be sustained." Foreign interest are buying up our future. Citigroup was propped up by a massive influx of capital from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority...$7.5 billion. Just a 5% ownership of the nation's largest bank is all, by a country most people can't find on a map. There's much more than just that sliver to come, I'm afraid. We really are spending ourselves into oblivion. And the Democrats? Well, more big government, including Health Care! Where's that money coming from, pray tell? Or do we want to nationalize the health care system? Dr. Government at your service...but queue in line, it's gonna take awhile.Let's turn away from more Government big-spending. If it isn't too late, already.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Socialism doesn't work, why we continue to move in that direction I have no idea.

By: Kosh III on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Thompson and the GOP want to bankrupt up and bust the budget by spending every penny on the military-industrial complex so we can continue to expand our Empire. When will we capture OBL? Bush doesn't care!

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I love how reactionary politicians are. The economy has been in the dumps for years, but "now" they care because now it POLLS higher than Iraq. Give me a break.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Serr, all we have to do to turn away from big government spending is get the hell out of Iraq and give the tax cuts to those who need it, not those who give the most to campaigns.And I guess you truly believe that big insurance companies have your best interest at heart? And those high deductibles, rates and copays don't bother you in the least because, you know, they are going straight to the CEO's pocket and Hey! He can buy a bigger yacht and stimulate the economy! Brilliant!

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Kosh just what is our "empire"If we are what you say we are we would have a few more states with names like Japan,Germany, Italy,Korea, France etal.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Yeah we don't have an Empire. We're a CHARITY, there's a distinct difference.

By: mccullochd on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The only "anxiety" I see is the potential of having Clinton in the White House for another 4 (or 8) years. She has already been president for 8 years!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Right, she really ran the Clinton White House. ROFLMAO. There's a mental thing going on here, not sure it's anxiety though...maybe schizophrenia...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Kosh and Fundit's hit the nail on the head. I'm no fan of Clinton's but let's be real. We spend WAY more on war that social services.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Wow, S8, thanks for quoting Fred Thompson. It’s good to get a bit more evidence of how out-of-touch he is. Medicare & welfare are not bringing down the U.S. economy. Squandering billions on bloody military escapades like Iraq, however, that has done a number on our debt & our deficit & is now affecting both unemployment & inflation. Ronald Reagan & the two George Bushes are responsible for ninety percent of our federal debt.As for health care, the only Democrat who wants universal health-care is Dennis Kucinich, and I have a sneaking feeling that he won’t win the nomination. Any of the Democrats’ plans, however, would be better & more cost-effective than the current wasteful system in which millions have no health insurance & use expensive emergency rooms rather than preventive visits.