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Clinton Sees California 'Roaring Back'

Former president gave his view on economic recovery Thursday at a Bay Area Council conference.

The only president who has balanced the U.S. federal budget since 1960 expressed cautious optimism about economic recovery in California during his speech in Silicon Valley Thursday. 

"California will come roaring back," former President Bill Clinton said. "It will come back sooner if we work together."

Clinton received a standing ovation when he appeared at the Outlook Conference organized by the Bay Area Council. Forum moderator George Marcus, chairman of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, said he first met Clinton in Cupertino in 1990, and they have been good friends since. 

Clinton said he's also good friends with Gov. Jerry Brown, who had earlier advocated his proposal of a tax increase as another speaker at the Outlook Conference. Clinton voiced his support for Brown's solutions to the California budget crisis.

Based on his own track record, Clinton said it takes approximating the spending level, approximating a revenue stream and a growth strategy to balance the budget. He said the growth strategy is especially important to ensure the increase of revenue.

Despite the currently slow economy, Clinton said he sees a lot of growth potential in California as well as the entire country. 

"We have a younger workforce than Japan and Europe. We'll have a younger workforce than China in 20 years," Clinton said. "It's easier to start a business here. And we're still the center of (research and development) in the world."

To sustain a strong workforce, Clinton said the government should take the lid off H1B visas.

To revive the economy, Clinton suggested lowering the mortgages that are worth more than the homes to their current price points and letting the home owners pay back the differences after the market recovery. He also recommended lowering corporate taxes as an incentive to businesses.

For competiveness, Clinton said America should improve the broadband infrustracture to increase productivity, and retrofit all public buildings to save energy.

When Clinton was asked to predict the outcome of this year's presidential election, he said it's going to be a close race, but President Barack Obama will win by five to six percent of the vote.

Another speaker at the conference, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, was asked about the possibility of her becoming a candidate for vice president. She said she doesn't see herself cut out for compaigning.

In her speech, Rice portrayed K-12 education in America as a "national security problem." Then she provided three solutions: higher pay for good teaching; setting higher expectations for students; lengthening the school day.

Rice said the United States has the shortest school day among industrialized countires. There used to be a need to let students out early to help their families with farm work, she said, but that's no longer the case today.

Another conference speaker Jeff Weiner, chief executive officer of Linkedin, shares Rice's view on education and Clinton's view on H1B visas. Weiner brought up the two issues when naming ways of closing the gap between unemployment and required skills of jobs available. 

Weiner added that America needs to invest more in a digital infrastructure, which informs job seekers of their dream jobs' skill requirements and helps employers find the most suitable job candidates. He said Linkedin is working on building such an infrastructure.

US Voter May 04, 2012 at 08:49 PM
"To sustain a strong workforce, Clinton said the government should take the lid off H1B visas." Bill Clinton understands as little about H-1B visas as VP Joe Biden does. See http://blogs.computerworld.com/19965/clueless_in_the_white_house The H-1B program is primarily used to import young, cheaper labor from developing countries for technical and engineering work; displacing many U.S. citizens from their professions or discouraging them from entering their chosen profession. It is NOT typically used to bring in the "best and brightest" minds. According to a January 14 2011 GAO report, most of the H-1B workers are categorized as having entry level skills. The program is also plagued by rampant fraud, which the government has only recently begun to address. But fraud is not the biggest problem: the large numbers and the loopholes are. Suggested reading: Economic Policy Institute, October 14, 2010: The H-1B and L-1 Visa programs: Out of Control http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/bp280 BusinessWeek - Work Visas May Work Against the U.S.: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/feb2007/db20070208_553356.htm ComputerWorld - Fed indictments tell how H-1B visas were used to undercut wages: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9127943&intsrc=hm_list BusinessWeek - America's High-Tech Sweatshops: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_41/b4150034732629.htm
Genevieve Bookwalter (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 10:48 PM
A lot of Milpitas residents come here to work in tech. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

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