Thursday, January 19, 2012
Back to Work by Bill Clinton
If you like: politics * economics * non-fiction
Back to Work presents a list of suggestions to turn the Unites States economy around and bring back employment and growth to the US. I find it very difficult to review this book in an unbiased way; many of the problems and solutions suggested were ideas that I agree with. I do not think you need to hold a liberal view to read this book, but I think you will enjoy it a lot more if you do. I was surprised at how current many of the examples in the book were. I did not expect to see references to events that happened in September 2011.
Clinton does aim to be fairly unbiased in his recommendations. Back to Work is not uncritical of the current administration or Clinton’s own, but in general Clinton still supports the decisions he made, and the majority of those by the Obama administration. Though the critiques focus a lot on republican decision making, there is some praise for programs and projects republicans have worked on as well.
Of the numerous topics and recommendations in Back to Work, there were a few main ideas that held my focus. The first is that people in my demographic really came into the job market at a terrible time. Even before the recession began in 2008, the job market had already experienced minimal growth for years. It is easy to understand the lack of faith in the future of our country when the outlook for people in their 20s is dismal. This leads directly to the second concept: the growth of the small business. Clinton discusses many ways that we can help create a climate for small business growth, and goals we should have for our small businesses. One area I haven’t heard much about before was the idea of creating high-end products and focusing on building business exporting them. Branding our country as a producer of quality goods seems like an excellent idea to me. I have encountered many examples of people creating their own businesses based on unique products or ideas when they could not find a job at an existing company. For a generation facing an abysmal job market, I think this is the direction to head. With crowdsourcing becoming more popular, I hope to see expanded opportunities using grassroots strategies instead of traditional and restricting models. The final idea that is new to me in Back to Work is the problem of getting fuel to our troops in remote locations. I was unaware of how expensive and dangerous it is to transport fuel to where it is needed. Any concerns for climate change or the costs aside, if using solar panels to provide electricity and air conditioning for our troops can save lives, I think it is worth investing in.
If you are are interested in reading about the economy and job market, and looking for a change from the most common rhetoric used by anyone who is campaigning, read Back to Work.
Clinton, William. “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy” (Bill Clinton). New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2011. Kindle Edition.