Former President Bill Clinton's remarks at a fundraiser in New York City on Monday for Barack Obama's reelection campaign raise concerns about his fiscal literacy.
"The Republican Congress and their nominee for President, Governor Romney, have adopted Europe's economic policies," Clinton told guests gathered at the lavish home of billionaire hedge-fund tycoon Marc Lasry.
"Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long term budget that would explode the debt…" Clinton added, echoing an argument advanced by psychohistorian Paul Krugman in his New York Times column today.
Obama’s approach to the economy, Clinton said, was "job growth now, and long-term budget restraint."
However, job growth continues to elude the current White House occupant. The economy added an anemic 69,000 jobs in the month of May, as the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent.
"Austerity" policies in Europe have also emphasized job-destroying tax hikes, which Republicans oppose and Obama supports.
Moreover, while Obama has routinely professed to have a secret long-term plan to reduce the deficit, he has yet to divulge any details. The official budget resolutions he has proposed contain very little "long-term budget restraint."
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said in April that the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal would have a negative effect on long-term economic growth.
Under Obama’s budget, the nation’s "fiscal position gradually deteriorates" after 2022 due to unsustainable levels of spending and debt, and completely shuts down beyond 2027, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s own figures.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told members of the Senate Budget Committee that even if the president’s budget were to be enacted, the federal government would still be left with "unsustainable commitments" in the long term.
"He's got a good record, he's made the best of a very challenging situation, he deserves to be reelected," Clinton said of the president on Monday, warning that a Republican victory in 2012 would be "calamitous for our country and the world."
Obama, who spoke following Clinton’s remarks, praised the former president’s expertise. "Nobody has a better grasp and understanding of the issues than this man," he said.