President Bill Clinton's National Economic Adviser addresses the main issues that were at the center of debate in Bush's second term: Social security reform, outsourcing, and deficit reduction.
After two consecutive elections in which Democratic candidates failed to turn clear economic advantages into electoral victory, a debate is raging over what the Democrats should do now. The narrow, red state-blue state argument between chest-beating populists and soulless centrists offers the answer to neither the country's economic future nor the political future of the Democrats. In The Pro-Growth Progressive,President Clinton's longest-serving national economic advisor, Gene Sperling, argues that the best economic strategy for our nation—and the best strategy for progressives whether they be Democrat, Republican, or Independent—is to pursue policies that are both progressive and pro-growth, that promote progressive values of upward mobility, fair starts, and economic dignity as well as embrace markets and innovation.
Sperling describes how both parties offer the American public impoverished choices: Democrats in the-sky-is-falling party too often pretend that the way to promote progressive values and expand the American middle class is to slow the pace of the global economy, stop all outsourcing, and intervene in the market. Republicans of the don't-worry-be-happy party hold fast to the bankrupt vision that the best thing for economic growth is the smallest government possible, and have made the conservative deficit hawks of the 1990s an endangered species. But The Pro-Growth Progressive is neither an all-out assault on the Bush agenda nor a partisan call for Democrats to move further left.
Both conservatives and progressives have to accept hard truths about the limitations of their approaches. Drawing on his years of policy experience, Sperling lays out a third way on the issues that are dominating the news and Bush's second term: social security, ownership, globalization, and deficit reduction. He explains the policy alternatives that respect the power of free markets while giving government a role in ensuring that the markets benefit all working families. Focused and timely, The Pro-Growth Progressive offers a realistic vision of free enterprise and economic growth in which government can improve education, reduce poverty, and restore the country to fiscal sanity.
Gene Sperling is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He was President Clinton's National Economic Advisor and Director of the National Economic Council from 1997 to 2001 and Deputy National Economic Advisor from 1993 to 1997. Mr. Sperling recently served as a top economic advisor to the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. He is a columnist and commentator for Bloomberg Business News and a contributing editor for the DLC's Blueprint Magazine, serves as director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council of Foreign Relations, and has been a contributing writer and consultant to the television show The West Wing. He has appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week, Good Morning America, Nightline, and CNN's Late Edition, and is a frequent contributor to NPR. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Inc. magazine, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and others.