The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

and DWAYNE SYE Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton criticized President George Bush's inconsistency on economic policies and outlined the philosophical make-up of his own economic policy during his address on campus Wednesday. In a 45-minute speech, Clinton cited Bush's failure to plan for the long-term and focus on the future of the country, along with his inability to maintain a stance on many issues, including student loans, civil rights and arts funding. "A campaign conversion isn't the same as a lifetime of conviction and a commitment to change," Clinton told the packed Zellerbach Auditorium. "Today I want to talk about real change -- about the fundamental problems of leadership and organization that are holding our economy back." The Arkansas governor accepted the invitation of a Wharton graduate student's club and addressed a 750-member crowd which was 80 percent Wharton students and faculty. The address was also simulcast in the 380-seat Annenberg School Auditorium. Clinton proposed a three-part economic strategy to "fundamentally change the way we do business at home and around the world." First, Clinton said every American deserves to be educated. He stressed a need for a "national service trust," which would replace the college student loan system. The trust would be made available to college students and would be repaid as a small percentage of annual income at tax time, or through community service. "For those who wish to go to college we should reduce all financial bearings," Clinton said. "We should abolish the present student loan program . . . and substitute in its place a national service trust." Clinton said the price tag on such a program would be a net increase in $8.2 billion annually. Other education reforms included preschool for every child who needs it, a nationwide apprenticeship for high school students who decide not to attend college and teaching every adult to read. Second, Clinton said the economy needs to be rebuilt for the long-term. "As a nation we're spending more on the present and the past, and building less for the future," Clinton said. "We need a president who will turn our country and our culture around so that we once again begin to take the long view." Clinton proposed an investment tax credit and an enterprise credit to help stimulate investment. He said that such proposals were better than a capital gains tax cut being proposed by other candidates. Clinton also proposed a research and development tax credit and allocating dollars which had been earmarked for military R&D; during the Cold War to civilian research projects. Further, Clinton proposed refining the format in which the national budget is presented. He said the budget should be broken into past expenses -- including debt service and "cleaning up the [savings and loan] mess" -- present and future expenses. The third part of Clinton's plan called for social change throughout society. Clinton pointed to some infamous Wharton alumni and Wharton's reputation during the 1980s as a basis for change. "Wharton is home to much of America's economic potential . . . but Wharton is also a powerful symbol of what went wrong in the 1980s," Clinton said. "It was here at Wharton that Michael Milken got the idea to use junk bonds to leverage buyouts." Clinton also said that in 1987, the year the stock market crashed, 25 percent of Wharton graduates pursued "high incomes in high finance rather than in the apparently less-glamorous work of creating jobs, goods and services to make America richer." Clinton said 1980s government has to be reinvented. He scoffed at old partisan lines and said new platforms need to be formed. "The answers I offer aren't liberal or conservative," Clinton said. "They're both and they're different." He added, "If this Republican experiment in supply-side economics does not work, does not produce growth or create upward mobility, or prepare millions of Americans to compete and win in the world economy, neither will the old Democratic philosophy of tax and spend our way out of any problem." One propasal was to give the President the ability to veto line items of the national budget. "We should give the President -- and this is heresy for a Democrat to say -- line-item veto authority," Clinton said, to the applause of the crowd. Clinton also said change could not stop with the government. He proposed distributing training money more evenly throughout corporations so that all workers could receive continuing education. He said that 75 percent of the money spent on training goes to the top 10 percent of corporate employees. · Clinton's speech was well-received by University officials and students. "I haven't seen this much excitement around a presidential candidate since Kennedy," Provost Michael Aiken said. "I am pleased he chose the University for a major economic statement." Aiken was not the only person to invoke images of John Kennedy. Senator Harris Wofford (D--Pa.) introduced Clinton by saying that he had the "clearest and best view of the world." He added, "I said something like that once before, about John Kennedy. I actually said it when I was 10 years old about Franklin Roosevelt." Wharton Dean Thomas Gerrity said he was generally pleased with the overall content of the speech, and accepted the remarks about Wharton with a grain of salt. "That's a standard, age-old, tired dig [at Wharton]," Gerrity said. Annenberg Dean Kathleen Jamieson said Clinton was speaking off his "natural vocal pitch." Clinton had originally planned to speak on Tuesday, but postponed his visit because doctors were worried about damage to his vocal chords.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.