Bill Clinton: How I’d fix the economy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Move over Congress. Move over President Obama. Bill Clinton is back — and he has a lot of economy-fixing ideas.

The elder Democratic statesman has crammed his latest book — called “Back to Work” — with dozens upon dozens of policy prescriptions designed to get the economy back on track.

Clinton hammers one point over and over: Government is good, and the policies of “antigovernment ideologues” would only “push the pedal to the metal of the most destructive trends of the last thirty years.”

So how can the United States get back on track?

“We need to get our game face on,” Clinton writes.

A few of his ideas: Homeowners with underwater mortgages should have their loan principal reduced, U.S. companies should be allowed to repatriate profits held overseas and investment in green jobs and infrastructure must be increased.

Clinton says the country needs “a rapid, comprehensive effort to resolve the ongoing mortgage crisis.”

Every delinquent homeowner with a mortgage worth more than the house should have the principal written down or the loan’s term extended at a lower interest rate. Another option: If a homeowner can’t make reduced payments, they should be allowed to exchange a deed for a multi-year lease.

If those options don’t work for a homeowner, foreclosure should be expedited.

On the corporate tax code, Clinton says he favors reforming the system in a way that would lower tax rates but not the amount of revenue collected by the Treasury.

And in the near-term, Clinton says Congress should allow companies with earnings held overseas to repatriate that money at a tax rate below the usual 35% — say 15% to 20%.

If a company is able to prove they will use their repatriated profits to create new jobs in the United States, the tax rate should be dropped all the way to 0%.

The American tax machine

With as much as $1 trillion in profits being held overseas, the scheme could create a nice chunk of revenue for the Treasury. Clinton says that money should be used to fund infrastructure grants to the states.

Many of Clinton’s other proposals would try to create jobs linked to projects that would help change the way Americans produce and consume energy.

For example, Clinton wants an “aggressive, fifty-state building retrofit initiative” that is financed with a government-backed loan guarantee program. Meanwhile, states should launch their own retrofit programs. Congress should bring back full tax credits for green tech jobs.

The United States should also develop more efficient biofuels, work to harness geothermal heat and extract more natural gas — a process that often requires companies to use the controversial “fracking” technology.

At the very least, rooftops should be painted white, Clinton says, to help cut down on energy costs.

In all, Clinton lists 46 bullet-point ideas to help the economy, but he sneaks a few more in around the margin.

However, many of the ideas would require congressional action.

And as Clinton points out, Washington is tied in knots at the moment — totally consumed by partisanship. Very little legislation has successfully emerged from Congress this session.

And after all, that is where the rubber meets the road.

Analysis

With the US economy in turmoil and witnessing some of the highest rates of unemployment this is an interesting article showing Bill Clinton’s perspective on how to solve the economy. Bill Clinton is known for the 8 years of positive Economic growth during his time as President of the USA.
Yet, the tax code is vital for Americans and it is a tricky subject also for the GOP candidates for Presidency.

Advertisements

Starbucks to hike prices on ‘labor intensive’ drinks

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Starbucks drinks, long considered symbols of Americans’ penchant to overspend, are about to get even pricier.

The coffee giant said late Wednesday that it will raise the price of “labor-intensive and larger-sized” beverages because of soaring prices of green arabica coffee beans.

Starbucks (SBUXFortune 500) said green coffee prices are close to a 13-year high, and costs for its other raw ingredients, including dairy, sugar and cocoa, have been volatile.

As CNNMoney reported earlier this month, coffee futures have climbed more than 40% since June.

“[This has] completely altered the economic and financial picture of many players in the coffee industry,” Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said in a written statement. “We have thus far chosen to absorb the price increases ourselves and not pass them on to our customers. But the extreme nature of the cost increases has made it untenable for us to continue to do so.”

US creates $30bn small business fund

The US Senate has backed a bill that will establish a $30bn (£19.5bn) fund for small businesses.

President Obama’s Democrats won a 61-38 vote to pass the legislation, with backing from two Republicans.

The measure is designed to help open up lending for small businesses, cut their taxes and boost Small Business Administration loan programmes.

The new loan fund would be available to community banks to encourage lending to small businesses.

Supporters say banks should be able to use the fund to access up to $300bn in loans.

Copper Demand Driven by Users Replenishing Inventories, BHP Billiton Says

Physical copper demand is being driven by consumers replenishing inventories amid a mixed outlook for commodities in the “short term”, BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, said today.

“There is strong physical demand for some commodities such as copper where consumers are restocking and premiums continue to rise,” BHP Billiton said in an earnings statement to the Australian stock exchange. “There is weaker demand for those commodities where short-term demand is likely to be satisfied by inventory rather than primary supply,” the company said.