Can Bill Clinton's book save the economy? His five best ideas.
During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the unemployment rate fell from 7.3 percent to 3.9 percent. The number of people who were unemployed fell by 3.7 million over eight years. Love them or hate them, the Clinton years marked a high water mark for the creation of jobs.
On Tuesday, publisher Alfred A. Knopf released the former president’s latest book, “Back to Work,” which is in part a list of ways Mr. Clinton thinks the nation can get its job machine back on track. Here are five suggestions (out of 46) from the silver-haired “man from Hope."
1. Resolve the mortgage mess
Clinton reasons that banks are still holding about $200 billion in nonperforming loans for which they have to keep cash in reserve. Moving these loans off the banks’ balance sheets would allow them to make more loans and possibly help consumers.
To do this, he wants the banks to commit to lowering mortgages on houses that are now worth less than the mortgage itself. But, if the house gets resold in the future at a higher price, the bank would share in the profits.
At the very least, borrowers who can’t make even reduced payments should be given the option of swapping their deed for a multiyear lease with modest rental payments. That way, banks would at least get some money from a property that might otherwise be vacant.
Why is Clinton focusing on housing?
“The mortgage problem is freezing us in place,” he writes.