January 13th, 2013
07:31 AM ET

Memo to Obama: 7 tips for a 2nd term

Read and watch more from the GPS special 'Memo to the President' which aired on CNN Sunday.

President Obama officially begins his second term on January 20. So what should his priorities be, domestically and abroad?

For his latest GPS special, "Memo to the President," Fareed Zakaria spoke with former senior policymakers from both sides of the aisle to get their take on what Obama should and shouldn’t be doing in the next four years.

What do you think? What should Obama's priorities be? Share your comments below.

James Baker, Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan:

My advice is, Mr. President, whatever happens in the second term, you are going to bear the consequences of it.

Our country is in sick shape financially.  Economically, we are really in bad shape. If we didn't have the dollar as the de facto reserve currency of the world, we would be Greece.

And we have got to fix our economic problem, and it's not going to be fixed without leadership from you… It's his administration that's in charge.  And if we don't get our economy out of this ditch, he's the one that's going to pay the price, he and his administration.

Paul O’Neill, Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush:

I don't want people to pay taxes if they have $20,000 a year worth of income.  But at $30,000, I might like for people to pay $1, just $1, so they have a - a legitimate claim for saying, I'm part of the society and I don't pay a lot, but I do pay something.

Everybody participates and there's no game playing.  It's a very efficient way to ray - raise revenue.

Right now, it costs us $431 billion a year to administer the tax system we have.  And the tax gap, the money we're not collecting that's theoretically owed, is $400 billion a year.   We could do better than that.  We can think better than that. And the president needs to lay that out for us.

Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary under George W. Bush:

So what we're seeing, actually, is a lot of discouraged workers, people who can't find jobs.  And they've just given up and they're no longer working and they're not counted in the workforce anymore.   So we've got to do better on the job creation side.

It's the private sector who does the bulk of the hiring.  And they've got to have the confidence.   And that confidence comes from a more reasonable taxation level, more reasonable regulatory reform and then also the fiscal discipline that we need in our country to restore our country's overall financial ratings.

Steven Rattner, “Car Czar” for Barack Obama:

We need to have long-term tax policy, long-term budget policy, long-term regulatory policy, not doing this a few months at a time, not careening from a debt ceiling debacle to a fiscal cliff to some other issue with tax credits that expire every few months and all that kind of stuff.  And so I think somehow the government as a whole has to come together in order to give business the confidence it needs.

Ed Rendell, Former Governor of Pennsylvania:

There was, in stimulus, something called "Build America Bonds."  The federal government said to the states, if you want to do major development and  major construction projects, we will help you defray 35 percent of the interest payments, but it ran out when stimulus ran out and an effort to reauthorize that as a separate program was turned down.   Now the beauty of it was very little impact on the federal treasury and an incredible impact on the number of project we could get going. This isn't rocket science, it's not like finding a disease, the cure for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's or cancer, we know what the answers are, we know what cure to the problem is, and all it takes is political courage.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor for Jimmy Carter:

I don't buy the absolutely ridiculous, irrational argument that the Iranians are so suicidal in the country of 75 million people or 80 million people, it's going to rush into committing suicide the moment it gets the first prototype of its bomb.

That even ignores the scientific fact that bombs have to be tested, that you have to have, from a military point of view, quite a number of them to be credible, et cetera, et cetera.  So we're not dealing with an imminent threat, a reaction to which would be decided by someone else drawing red lines for us.

Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton:

China is our most important relationship, in my judgment, at least.  I think it is immensely in our economic self-interests, as well as in their economic self-interests to have an effective relationship…[A]lot of what we complain about with respect to them – their export-driven strategy, the absence of domestic demand – I think it's critically important for their own self-interests if they're going to have sustainable growth going forward, to deal with that issue.

So I think we have a common self-interest in dealing with many of the issues that we complain to each other about.

What do you think? What should Obama's priorities be? Share your comments below.

« Previous entry
soundoff (394 Responses)
  1. krehator

    How come all these self proclaimed experts do not run for office themselves? Maybe because they are frauds?

    January 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  2. the liberal behind the liberal conspiracy

    In reality the place we find oueselves in started 30 years ago with the election of the most dangerous type of politician the borrow and spend Republican named Ronald Wilson Reagan. In 1980 Reagan convinced a bunch or Ayn Rand inspired narcissists that they were special and that the government was an obstruction to thier dreams of world domination. So the traitor Reagan lowered taxes on the rich by almost 50% which allowed these narcissists to take thier money from America over seas to make investments, literally bets, against America. Instead of investing in America like the corporations used to do they invested in China, India, Bangledesh, places where life is cheap and the environment is for sale and pocketed the difference.

    Now these same parasites in America the Ayn Rand inspired special snowflakes, will question to patriotism of anyone that calls them that does not buy thier special brand of philisophical gibberish, a typical FOX News broadcast. These people have bankrupted America with thier investments in foreign countries that directly having fed on the middle class like a lamprey on a lake trout. In the end a proven fact is that supply side economics does not work unless you are the 1%, class warfare is was and will always be waged it is just that the rich are better funded. To prove that Republican inspired supply side economics is an abject failure i merely have to points, 16 trillion dollars of debt from low taxes on the rich, and that in 30 years of Republican incompetence and mismanagement America has done nothing great.

    That is why it is called the Russian space station, or the International space station. We have not built anything of lasting value. We have aquired massive debt, high unemployment, a shrinking middle class, our children are fat and stupid, and our infrastructure is crumbling just to name a few. Small government empowers the individual (Ayn Rand brand kool aid) big government empowers us all. With out the necessary revenue to educate our children, maintain our infrastructure, and the government to focus American money and effort, we become a nation of individuals, all looking out for ourselves, united we stand divided we fall. Obama is trying to turn back the clock to a period when America and Americans all looked out for each other, when people trusted governement (government is we the people after all) to restore confidence and compromise in government so that it can do great things again, that is the grand bargain.

    January 27, 2013 at 1:21 am | Reply
  3. renataproject

    The Republicans want to reduce the deficit and debt and develop a responsible government. Obama wants to keep spending and expanding spending. We truly need fiscal responsibility.

    January 27, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
  4. The Mayor of Medinah

    Resign from office?

    January 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  5. Tory Burch 激安

    For buyers with regular interpreter needs, I recommend an allinone device like the Tandberg a hundred and fifty MXP for simplicity of use and crystal clear audio and video clip transmission.
    Tory Burch 激安 http://www.joran-saladin.com/images/hot-11-Tory-Burch.asp

    October 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  6. エルメス Hermes ケリー 35

    http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=90 エルメス シルクイン 長財布 http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=91 エルメス ル・ステュディオ http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=92 Hermes ベルト コピー http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=93 エルメス 新作 2010 http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=94 エルメス キーホルダー カルメン I'd be discouraging him to take a look at that chance merely because we want him here and that i advised him that. He's a firstclass operator Travis and he is actually without doubt one of the very few CEOs that we experienced which includes come from the product in excess of a lengthy stretch of time. He lower his enamel at Essendon in several roles and he is exactly what the Gold Coastline required and he has performed a firstclass profession. But his profession isn completed here nevertheless.AFL Cairns workforce 2020 hope http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=95 Hermes 財布 ベアン ブルー http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=96 エルメス ネゴンダ tpm http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=97 エルメス 渋谷 http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=98 エルメス ボリード 15 http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=99 Hermes バーキン ブルー
    エルメス Hermes ケリー 35 http://www.hetmasker.nl/ballonnen/dafeult.asp?p=74

    December 7, 2013 at 12:06 am | Reply
  7. stone island combats

    stone island black hooded jacket stone island shorts http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=stone-island-shorts stone island jacket lehenga stone island baby http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=stone-island-baby stone island jacket crown red stone island jacket http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=red-stone-island-jacket stone island jacket raincoat stone island menswear http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=stone-island-menswear stone island jacket and jeans stone island bomber jacket http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=stone-island-bomber-jacket stone island jacket patches stone island for kids http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=stone-island-for-kids stone island jacket in a bag baby stone island http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=baby-stone-island stone island jacket varsity fake stone island clothing http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=fake-stone-island-clothing
    stone island combats http://www.prestofurniture.com.au/?tags=stone-island-combats

    July 5, 2015 at 12:46 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry