Back to Work

  • by Bill Clinton
  • Narrated by Bill Clinton
  • 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

President Bill Clinton gives us his views on the challenges facing the United States today and why government matters—presenting his ideas on restoring economic growth, energy, job creation, resolving the mortgage crisis, and financial responsibility, and offering a plan to get us "back in the future business". He explains how we got into the current economic crisis, and lays down a plan for long-term prosperity. He also offers specific recommendations on how we can put people back to work, increase bank lending and corporate investment, double our exports, restore our manufacturing base, and create new businesses. He supports President Obama's emphasis on green technology, saying that changing the way we produce and consume energy is the strategy most likely to spark a fast-growing economy while enhancing our national security.
Clinton also stresses that we need a strong private sector and a smart government working together to restore prosperity and progress, demonstrating that whenever we've given in to the temptation to blame government for all of our problems, we've lost our ability to produce sustained economic growth and shared prosperity. He believes our ability to compete in the 21st century is dependent on our willingness to invest in infrastructure: we need faster broadband, a state-of-the-art national electrical grid, modernized water and sewer systems, and the best airports, trains, roads, and bridges.
"There is simply no evidence that we can succeed in the 21st century with an anti-government strategy," writes Clinton, based on "a philosophy grounded in 'you're on your own' rather than 'we're all in this together.'" He believes that conflict between government and the private sector has proved to be good politics but has produced bad policies, giving us a weak economy with not enough jobs, growing income inequality and poverty, and a decline in our competitive position. In the real world, cooperation works much better than conflict, and "Americans need victories in real life."


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"anti-ideological" work crippled by ideology

First off, I am not American and so have little to gain by critiquing the Republicans or the Democrats. I empathize with many of the points brought up by the former president, but just as Clinton rightly chastises the right for being seemingly immune to evidence, he himself fails to make the links between the facts he gives and the proper solution (which seems to be "smarter" government).

While rightly stating that over-levraging caused the financial crises, he jumps over the possible causes of over leveraging and simply states that government regulation would be the solution.

He simply assumes the government's success is to be measured by "jobs created" or lowering of poverty and income equality, while never telling us why it is the government's job to drive the economy in job creation, or even why it would be beneficial for the government to take on this role, or what is even meant by poverty or why income inequality is a bad thing (i make tons less than Bill Gates, in fact well less than the US average income... if I have a great standard of life, why does that matter?).

At one point, he even opines against ideologies because they keep us from seeing "what works". What the goal in mind is, how we would measure it, and other like questions aside, isn't pragmatism an ideology (and one often hamstrung practically by the question of goals and measurement that I just mentioned)?

We all have paradigms through which we view the world, and our politics. Former President Clinton's mistake is in assuming that such ideologies are limited to his political detractors, and as a result he fails to make a case for his understanding.
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- Stephen

An Independent's Opinion

In this book Bill Clinton has done a fine job of convincing me that we really do need to do something about our Congress's inability to get anything done. I watch both MSNBC and FOX to get both of the party lines, then I watch John Stewart and Jay Leno to laugh about both parties. But it's really not a laughing matter, that which is happening to our country. Every day that goes by is another day of lost opportunity. I guess we are going to have to wait till 2012 to change the make-up of the House of Representatives back to a Democratic majority so that things can be done to move this nation forward. I'd have felt differently, perhaps, if the Presidents Bill had been brought up on the floor of the House for debate the day after it was submitted. The Republican's refusal to even consider it or to make one themselves that addresses our economy had made me wonder if I should vote Democratic in the upcoming election. This book has cemented that view. What a shame for them. They could have had me firmly on their side if they had simply put forth a bill of their own that addressed these issues, those addressed here in this book. And there are so many suggestions that President Clinton puts forward. Using only a few of them could have put us all back to work and on solid footing years ago. I'm almost as sad for the fate of the Republican majority in the house as I am for the unemployed... naaaaaaaa
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- john

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-08-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio