The United States

What were some of the year’s best quotes regarding the United States?

December 25, 2000

What were some of the year's best quotes regarding the United States?

Greenspan, Summers, Clinton and Bush–it’s been a wild ride for America’s high flying political and economic leaders this year. Let’s take a look back at some of the year’s best quotes.

In all honesty, did the Clinton Administration ever expect to have a budget surplus?

“The very notion of a budget surplus would have been considered a bizarre ‘X-files’ plot when President Clinton took office.”

(Former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta)

How focused on the trade deficit is the U.S. Secretary of Treasury?

“Larry Summers does not sit there every afternoon adding up the current account deficit.”

(MIT economist Rudi Dornbusch)

Just how well does Alan Greenspan understand the nuances of American economy?

“Mr. Greenspan is demonstrating that he’s either better at this than any human being has a right to be — or luckier than any human has a right to be.”

(Brad DeLong, UC Berkeley economics professor)

Does the Fed need to raise rates again to keep a tight leash on inflation?

“The Fed is just going to have to chill out — and enjoy prosperity.”

(Ed Yardeni, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities)

Just how big is the AOL-Time Warner deal?

“Microsoft is a super monopoly. But AOL-Time Warner is the next Microsoft, and it’s not getting the scrutiny it deserves.”

(Jeff Chester, consumer advocate)

Will GM make big cars forever?

“A lot of rich people today are under 25. They don’t look at money the same way we did. They expect to make millions.”

(GM executive, on the need for large luxury vehicles)

Are international relations crucial in sustaining U.S. economic growth?

“The Achilles heel for the United States is our reluctance to engage adequately in the world.”

(U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers)

What kind of personal credentials are needed to lead the United States right now?

“The lawyers and the generals have had their chance. Why not give an M.B.A. a shot?”

(George W. Bush’s classmate Peter Gebhard, highlighting Bush’s degree from Yale)

What are the obstacles for U.S. foreign policy?

“The human rights situation in Sudan is not marketable to the American people.”

(Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, on the U.S. refusal to get involved in Sudan)

How much more advanced is the U.S. political system compared to developing nations, say Cuba?

“Cuba is so close to a banana republic.”

(Cuba’s Fidel Castro, on flaws in the U.S. election voting process)

Is there a broader lesson in using trade relations as a tool of diplomacy?

“If you think China is more likely to change politically if it’s brought into global economic relations, then why not apply the same logic to Cuba?”

(Thomas Mann, Brookings Institution)

How successful has America’s costly war on drugs really been?

“The war on drugs is a $40 billion annual fiasco that has swamped jails with bush-league offenders who aren’t smart enough to deal dope and not get caught.”

(Washington Post columnist Judy Mann, on the U.S. war on drugs)

What is the European take on the American way of doing business?

“We have nothing against the Americans. It’s the American system we’ve had enough of — all that bad food makes for bad thinking.”

(French McDonald’s protestor)

Finally, does a U.S. President really have responsibility for this?

“In America, they blame me when it rains.”

(President Bill Clinton, on a power outage during his trip to Ireland)