Former President Bill Clinton joined the cacophony of liberal politicians and leaders voicing support of the Occupy Wall St. movement. During a talk this week at the Chicago Ideas Week, Clinton compared the movement to the Tea Party and said it is part of “good positive debate.”
“The Occupy Wall Street crowd basically is saying, ‘I’m unemployed and the people that caused this have their jobs again and their bonuses again and their incomes are high again. There’s something wrong with this country. This is not working for me,’” Clinton said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “So I think it can be a good positive debate.”
The Tribune adds that “Clinton said the Occupy Wall Street movement reminds him of the early days of the tea party fighting ‘unaccountable power.’”
Still, his praise didn’t come without some trepidation. Clinton also said the movement could have the same problems as some of the Middle East protests, mainly “no program and … no organized political party.”
So what does Clinton think the country needs? If you’ve been following the Occupy movement from the beginning, it might sound familiar:
He called for reforms to the corporate tax system and said the economy will never fully recover unless the country addresses the mortgage crisis. He suggested that banks write down or extend existing mortgages at today’s low interest rates, and if people still can’t pay, allow them to lease their homes for five years with the opportunity to reconvert to a mortgage.
He also pushed for a “broader job-generating strategy,” including more “green” technology jobs, and said that in order for the country to rebound, there needs to be less anti-government sentiment and more “networks of cooperation.”
Occupy Wall St. mastermind Stephen Lerner has said the mortgage strikes are a part of the plan and, as recently as this month, has said that banks need to capitulate on customers’ mortgages.