WASHINGTON -- President-elect Bill Clinton said yesterday he will concentrate on long-term measures to boost the economy and reduce the federal budget deficit, rather than on short-term stimulus.
Following a meeting with House and Senate leaders, Clinton said at a press briefing he has not ruled out a short-term economic stimulus program that bond market participants fear could swell the budget deficit next year.
But, he told reporters, his economic program will emphasize tax-law changes and other measures aimed at boosting growth in future years.
The comments were significant given recent government statistical reports that the economy is strengthening, eliciting hopes in the bond market that the new President will embark only on a modest economic revival program. There is also speculation that he may drop plans altogether for a short-term stimulus package.
Clinton, citing statistics handed to him by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said he believes jobs and U.S. output are not yet very buoyant. "There is still no evidence that we are really coming out of this in the traditional sense," he said.
But the more important point, Clinton added, is that the fundamental problems facing the economy are long-term in nature. "There is no difference in my mind between a short-term economic strategy and a long-term economic strategy." he said.