Gates huddles with Clinton hours after verdict

By : |April 5, 2000 0

Less than 48 hours after Bill Clinton’s Attorney General won a guilty
verdict against Microsoft, Bill Gates and other top industry leaders and
economists joined the President for a day-long summit to determine what could
derail the supercharged American economy and ways to prevent that from
happening. Gates met privately with Clinton prior to the start of he summit, but
the subject of the antitrust case was reportedly not raised.

One of the presentations at the summit was made by Federal Reserve Chairman
Alan Greenspan who warned of "imbalances" in the American economy caused by
dwindling supply of available workers and a soaring trade deficit ($267 billion
in 1999).

Clinton last held an economic summit in 1992 while still president-elect.
That summit set the stage for the largest economic expansion in U.S. history. At
the time the main themes were the reduction of the huge budget deficits and ways
to stimulate job growth in the aftermath of the Cold War.

                                 

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Clinton said he believes that technological advances offer the best hope for
continued prosperity, not only for the United States but also impoverished
nations. "I believe the computer and the Internet give us a chance to move more
people out of poverty more quickly than at any time in all of human
history."

Clinton warmly praised billionaire Bill Gates for the "phenomenal
commitments" he and his wife have made in contributing $750 million to fight
global poverty and health problems. Greenspan, generally regarded as the chief
engineer behind the booming U.S. economy, warned that continued huge U.S.
Federal trade deficits, reflecting strong consumer demand, could become a
liability if foreigners suddenly decide they no longer want to invest in U.S.
assets such as the stock market. "The significant uncertainties surrounding
these new economic forces counsel prudence. We need to be careful to keep
inflationary pressures contained."

Greenspan’s Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times in the
past six months in an effort to slow the U.S. economy from a growth rate of
around 7 per cent to a more desirable 3.5 per cent.

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