Former President Bill Clinton.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN)– Addressing a crowd of college democrats Friday, former President Bill Clinton criticized the Bush administration for making trade a "dirty word."
Clinton discussed the amounting inequalities in healthcare, education and income domestically and said the problems had been exacerbated by an increasing deficit financed by foreign monies.
"It is profoundly unequal, and the government's policies have made it more, so by insisting that wealthy people like me get a tax cut every year,"
Clinton said. "And then [they] turn around and borrow the money to pay for my tax cut, and for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Chinese, the Indians, the Koreans, the oil exporters‹and all the people that have trade surpluses with us."
The U.S treasury reports indicate as of September 2007 that the top five holders of U.S. treasury bills are Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Oil Exporters (includes Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria) and Brazil. Japan still maintains the lion's share of U.S. debt at $582 billion. China holds the number two slot at $397 billion.
As a result of these investments by foreign nations, Clinton noted that trade policy had become less effective.
"They made trade a dirty word," Clinton said of the current Bush administration.
The "problem is it's not so much trade, as it was pointed out in the debate last night by more than one speaker, it's that we don't enforce our trade laws anymore," Clinton said referencing CNN's Democratic debate held in Las Vegas Thursday. "And the reason we don't enforce our trade laws anymore is they're our bankers."
"We have mortgaged our economic sovereignty," said the former President.
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–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla